Sunday, February 22, 2009

They Tried To Bury This One In The Movie Itself

Okay, let's face it. I'm a guy. Guys aren't always the smartest critters on the planet. Actually, if you ask a lot of women, they might have a lower opinion of guys, but we'll just go with the concept that guys aren't too bright sometimes.

We do things for, well, no good reason we can explain other than, "It seemed like a good idea at the time." What that often means is either "I wanted to" or "My little head was thinking for me" or somewhere between the two. We react and act on basic stimuli: hunger, competition, comfort and sex, or, ideally, something that involves all four. (Basically, making it with the pizza delivery girl on the couch after being the first person in the apartment to answer the doorbell.) Don't ask us to justify these stupid actions. Either shake your head in confusion and just keep loving us, or call a good lawyer. The former option can sometimes be easier, but not always cheaper.

Given that men will, and do, make stupid choices based on stupid impulses, we come to today's film of choice. I was with a lovely lady who loves me dearly, and we were in Big Lots. If you don't know this store, they sell stuff that other stores wanted the hell out off their shelves because it wasn't selling. Big Lots will discount the living snot out of it and hope some happy slack-jaw bozo will help out their bottom line. Well, meet a slack-jawed bozo. I bumped into a rack of $3 movies within 20 feet of the front door, and I forgot I was with anyone. I pulled a few flicks out that I felt I needed, and grabbed one that, well...I bought it based on a flashback to a sexual response to a celebrity.

Kathy Ireland was, and still is, a stunningly attractive woman. Okay, to hell with it, she is hot. She makes me whimper. I'll stop there to spare myself further embarrassment and the potential for lawsuits based on extremely crude comments and references. There I am, holding up a copy of Alien From L.A., and my companion leans her sweet head on my shoulder and asks, "Is that a good movie?" Huh? Who are you, and why is your head on my shoulder? Then I could smell the top of her head, and my senses, such as they are, came back to me. And, to my credit, I was honest. "This? Not that I've ever heard, but I've wanted to see this movie since it came out." She looked at the cover carefully, looked at me, winked and said, "I'll bet she had nothing to do with you wanting to see that." Sweet sarcasm.

Kathy Ireland had EVERYTHING to do with me wanting to see that movie. Okay, it is a fantasy film, but it has Kathy Ireland. Huh? Need I say more?

Normally, a movie that I buy will sit around for days, weeks, months and, in a few cases, years before I get around to watching them, if ever. I had this thing in my DVD player inside of 24 hours. Practically a record for me. And then Karma started in with the bitch-slapping.

Never seen Alien From L.A.? Here's the basic story. Ms. Ireland's character is a poor waif who is dumped by her hunky boyfriend because she is so timid. Her mother died years before and her father is always gone while he explores the world, looking for Atlantis. She gets a letter one day stating her father is dead, having fallen down a endless pit, and that she should travel to the far side of the world to help settle his affairs. Plucking up her courage, our lovely heroine takes the offer, and, in short order, follows her father down the same hole in the ground. Does she die? We are not so lucky. It seems the hole drops straight down to the underground world that hosts the Atlantian people. Realizing her father may not be dead, our heroine sets out to find him while being hunted down as an alien.

You know, when put like that, it sounds like a pretty good set-up for a movie. And considering you get a shot of Ms. Ireland looking rather fetching in a bikini very early on, you might be thinking you've landed a good deal for only $3. Sadly, her character opens her mouth and all hope bolts for the door as it waves a gun at you to cover its escape. Her voice is...hmmm...fingernails on a chalkboard are like Mozart in comparison. You fear your ears will bleed. What makes it worse is that the voice is affected. You can see her straining at times to speak as she does. Why? So there could be a couple of throwaway jokes about that being her "real" voice. I hoped that something would happen to the character that would make her voice normal. Don't waste your time hoping. It doesn't happen. I suggest having a dentist drill your teeth each time she speaks; it will be comforting in comparison.

Even if you put her voice aside, the movie itself is, well, just sad. You can tell the writers were going for a goofy adventure movie. Director Albert Pyun gives it a try, but he just doesn't seem to balance the comedy with the chase sequences. It looks like he wanted to make a tribute to Big Trouble In Little China, but the comedy and action pull in different directions, unlike the movie he was imitating. The whole thing is dark, drab and why the hell does everyone living underground dress like rejects from an 80s retro rave? The humor is cheap and light to the point of not being there. It isn't fun, it isn't terribly exciting, and Ms. Ireland spends way too much time wrapped up in way too many clothes. What? You thought I wanted to see this for her thespian nature?

Am I going to keep this? Yes. Will I watch it again? Wow, that's a tough one. Maybe. Perhaps I'll play a CD of jackhammers on a New York street corner instead of listening to the movie. I just figure holding on to it will be the perfect thing in case anyone EVER wants to play a bout of one-upmanship on "I can't stand so-and-so's voice." I'll never lose with this tucked away in my collection.

And Ms. Ireland will be eternally heavenly in her bikini. That's worth $3 any day.

(I have to give thanks to Andrew Borntreger and his web site, While Googling this film for good screenshots (Yes, I'm lazy.), his site had the best, and his review of this film is far more detailed than mine. God help him, he can't be right in the head after watching this film enough times to get that level of detail. Please, send contributions and letters of sympathy to his family. We can only hope he didn't expose any of them to this film.)

WARNING! This Youtube video of the trailer has a VERY LOUD VOLUME! Be warned that this trailer also contains a sample of Ms. Ireland's voice. Please wear appropriate ear protection. Thank you.

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