Review: U.F.O. / Cert: 15 / Director: Dominic Burns / Screenplay: Dominic Burns / Starring: Bianca Bree, Sean Brosnan, Simon Phillips, Sean Pertwee, Jean-Claude Van Damme/ Release Date: Out Now
Sadly not the long awaited feature film reboot of the late Gerry Anderson’s seminal live-action 1960s sci-fi series, but thankfully also not ‘comedian’ Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown’s 1993 feature film debut, this is a very British loose change alien invasion movie which inevitably doesn’t amount to much but is fizzing with equal amounts of enthusiasm and headache-inducing SHOUTING.
U.F.O. starts out fairly promisingly as a bunch of over-sexed party people in glamorous West Derby wake up after a night on the razz to find that there’s no power, no TV and radio, and – shriek! – no mobile phone coverage. But they don’t panic, they just get on with the business of sitting it out until normality is restored. Move on a couple of days, though, and a giant spaceship is hanging above the city and suddenly everyone’s running around shouting and fighting... and shouting some more. The film throws away its initial subtlety and sense of growing unease: the desperately limited budget makes showing the full effect of the invasion impossible – FX are kept to a minimum, which is just as well because they’re generally a bit ropey – and, as if to compensate, the characters all start to get hysterical. Unfortunately, as none of them is even remotely likeable, it’s hard to work up much of an interest in what happens to them, and before long you’re willing them to get bumped off asap just so we can all get on with our lives and do something else.
Jean-Claude Van Damme turns up for no apparent reason, and U.F.O. is punctuated by long, clumsy fight scenes (a tussle between one character and a policeman goes on forever) which appear to have been included just to pad things out and keep the action indoors. One scene filmed in pouring rain is unintelligible despite the cast yelling at the tops of their voices, and as the performances get more histrionic and the scenario less and less interesting you’ll be hoping the aliens will stop messing about and just nuke the lot of ‘em to spare us any more misery.
U.F.O. is a misfire which has neither the coherent script nor the budget to even begin to make it work. And that's a shame, because we need a halfway decent UK alien invasion film after American duds like Skyline and The Darkest Hour. But writer/director Dominic Burns, whilst clearly an enthusiastic filmmaker, needs to scale his ambitions back a bit and learn his craft before embarking on another project as ambitious as this one.