|Copyright 1992 Very Big Motion Picture Corporation
| Reviewed by Andrew Borntreger on 13 June 2008
- Frank McCall - What kind of maniac washes down pancakes with Diet Coke?
- Capt. Anders - Apparently, you can be a Captain in the DOD. I do not mean a specific service, such as Air Force, Army, or Marines, I mean just the Department of Defense (must be one step up from a GS-9).
- Gen. Anheiser - If there is one thing he cannot stand, it is aliens on his base. Well, that and the aliens having an intergalactic kegger.
- Rogers - He publishes a tabloid newspaper on a daily basis, meaning that every day the writers have to come up with outlandish stories about Elvis, aliens, and Bat Boy. Every day! Is he insane?
- Harvey - Lollypop, lollypop, oh lolly-lolly-lolly...
- Col. Faraday - The Air Force must be keen to promote excitable, immature officers to the rank of Colonel. Squished.
- ASMODeous - What do you get when you cross the military acronym for an alien software program with a case of overenthusiastic patriotism?
|The first thing that anyone notices about "Invader" is the cover, which features shadowy figures aboard a spaceship and a distinctive green tint. Nothing remotely like that ever appears in the movie, so forget it. I do not know why it matters; heck, I do not know why this paragraph matters. Let's talk about the movie instead; the one without people on board a spaceship.
Right away, the audience knows that something is wrong at Clarksburg Air Force Base in Virginia (don't bother trying to look it up, that will only frustrate you), because a group of terrified Air Force personnel tries to flee from the base in a bus. They encounter a roadblock manned by emotionless guards wearing glowing night vision goggles, who open fire. Rather than stomping on the gas and crashing through, the frightened people attempt to flee on foot through the woods. Most of them are shot to death by the pursuing guards, but one unlucky fellow is transfixed by a red light and bursts into flames.
Funny enough, the killers do not clean up after themselves. So, the next day, Capt. Anders is called in to investigate the murders, and Frank is dispatched by his Sasquatch-chasing editor to cover the story. The deaths are puzzling, though the presence of multiple corpses filled with 5.56mm bullets means that the nearby base must have something to do with the murders. Explaining the lump of human charcoal is a little more difficult, unless you are tabloid reporter - or an insurance adjuster who specializes in unlikely microwave oven accidents.
Clarksburg is an important base on account of the F-23 fighter program. The experimental aircraft is Col. Faraday's pride and joy, and it just so happens that a big demonstration flight is scheduled for that very evening. The Colonel is adamant that the dog and pony show not be affected by the unexplainable murders. That makes it a little difficult to explain how Anders manages to secure a spot on the bleachers. Frank McCall also sneaks in to watch the test flight.
I am not saying anything that is not obvious here, but the intent of the F-23 demonstration flight is to impress Congress and DOD enough to secure further funding. That being said, the demonstration takes place at night, and the plane itself is pitch black. The guests are all sitting in bleachers, meaning they are going to stare into the dark sky and listen to something go "WHOOSH - WHOOSH" back and forth. These are your taxpayer dollars at work; get angry about it.
The heart of the F-23 aircraft is an advanced avionics program called A.S.M.O.D.S.. Unfortunately, the software goes haywire during the flight and the test pilot is forced to discharge his pistol into the control panel to prevent the aircraft from dropping a bomb on the bleachers. What the honored guests experience is "WHOOSH - WHOOSH - BOOM!"
During the test flight, Capt. Anders recognizes Frank; the pesky reporter is detained by a spaced-out airman while the F-23 wreckage burns on the runway. However, Frank does not wait around long before a pair of men arrive, stuff him in a car, and take him to a remote warehouse. Weirder and weirder, there are two more men there who have a syringe filled with glowstick juice and a silly-looking helmet. The faux secret agents are obviously going to inject the reporter with the phosphorescent serum and then stick the "Confus-O-Tron Helmet from the planet Arachnia" on his head, thus making him a part of whatever is going on behind the scenes at Clarksburg.
Seems like an awfully complex way to take over a planet, doesn't it? I mean, compared to just cloning (and absorbing) people while they sleep, or infecting them with brain leeches that turn everybody into zombies.
The brainwashing attempt does not work because Anders shows up just in time. He saves Frank (boy, the brainwashed agents are horrible shots) and they do their best to escape from the platoon of night-vision wearing automatons that shows up and peppers Anders' car with bullets. They also encounter a UFO that paralyzes Harvey (Anders' partner) with a vibration weapon. Old Harvey gets left behind, but don't worry, we'll see him later. Finally, the DOD investigator and tabloid reporter manage to get away. They go directly to Col. Faraday's headquarters.
It has been what, forty minutes since the F-23 smashed into the runway? Guess what the Colonel and the design team are doing. No, really. Guess. They are trying to determine what caused the crash! Do you know what they come up with? "My gosh, it must be the experimental software provided by you, Col. Faraday." Look, you bunch of geniuses, the software did not cause the crash. The test pilot shooting his instrument panel did. Granted, he did it because the software was out of control; that does not change the fact that the F-23 was perfectly happy to stay in the air until the pilot starting busting caps in its brain.
Leaving the meeting, the distraught Colonel goes to his computer and tries to shutdown the A.S.M.O.D.S. program. Big mistake. A.S.M.O.D.S. is not written in C++, Cobol, or even Python. Col. Faraday salvaged the program from the wreckage of a crashed UFO! How he downloaded it from the alien hard drive is glossed over (I can barely understand some of the connectors made by human engineers, let alone an alien machine race), but the project officer for the F-23 somehow thought it would be groovy to save the American taxpayer money by incorporating the crashed UFO's software into the military's computer system. A.S.M.O.D.S. cannot be just turned off; in fact it goes on the offensive. Right after Anders and Frank get to Col. Faraday's office a bunch of brainwashed personnel shoot their way into the building.
The situation aboard Clarksburg AFB is rapidly deteriorating, in case you hadn't noticed.
Somebody has to warn the Pentagon, so Col. Faraday takes Capt. Anders and McCall to a hanger. He gives them the keys to an F-117 stealth fighter (the rare two seater version). The Colonel provides cover fire for the other two as the F-117 takes off and escapes. Okay, "escapes" is not entirely true; A.S.M.O.D.S. sends a pair of F-16s after the F-117. This means that a confusing dogfight between the F-117, the F-16s, and a pair of F-14s (sent by Andrews AFB to find out what in the heck is going on) takes place over Washington DC. The end result is that Capt. Anders lands his damaged F-117, then is grabbed by Pentagon spooks for debriefing. While eating some breakfast in between interrogations, Anders is surprised and tranquilized by Harvey (the DOD agent, not the rabbit). Fortunately, Frank arrives just in time to save Anders from brainwashing.
Check it out: a tabloid reporter stopped a lollipop-sucking, alien-controlled DOD agent from brainwashing a DOD investigating officer, thus thwarting the plans of a rogue software program from outer space. Rather impressive, even for a b-movie.
The audacity of trying to brainwash a man in a Pentagon dining facility finally goads General Anheiser to action. He takes a couple of helicopter gunships down to Clarksburg (Anders comes along). The "surprise inspection" does not turn out like the general planned. Remember the flying saucer? It blows the helicopters out of the sky, leaving Anheiser and Anders at the mercy of the now-brainwashed Colonel Faraday. Frank McCall shows up too. In fact, Frank's attempt to sneak back onto the base was so poorly executed that I am certain he wanted to be captured.
It's that, or else Frank is a moron. Any guy who gets paid to write about Bigfoot cannot be a moron.
Anders, McCall, and Anheiser are taken to a huge underground cavern that is filled with military hardware being scrapped to make alien technology. This is where ASMODeous' physical self is located. The flying saucer is only its head! Once the saucer combines with a massive robotic body, we are treated to a mechanical patriotic zealot that sits on a pile of tanks and planes while it talks about destroying Russia, and screens behind the alien robot display an American flag waving in the breeze! Capt. Anders and his compatriots escape, meaning that they get away from the "human" guards. Great, now all they have after them is a forty-foot-tall, right-wing-nut-job, alien robot after them. At least the piles of scrapped hardware means that finding a weapon to defeat the invader is not an impossible task.
You want an impossible task? Creating a balanced national budget. Now that is tilting at windmills, apparently.
I have been rather critical of the film, but must give it props for the impressive amount of model work. None of the special effects are particularly great, but they are good enough to be acceptable and there are loads of them. The flying saucer, the air battle over Washington, and even the flag-waving robot master (even if it does look like a Bionicle) all make the movie seem like a grand production. I just wish that the movie made a bit more sense.
Having the cover art fit in somewhere would not have been a bad idea either.
|Things I Learned From This Movie:|| |
- Night vision goggles are bulletproof...and so are saplings.
- I don't care if he is a programming genius, do not let the Dalek fanatic design your avionics system.
- Test pilots carry 9mm pistols in case the aircraft's computer system experiences a "fatal error."
- Ford cars are also bulletproof...except for the windshield.
- Blood is thicker than Kool-Aid.
- The difference between an F-4 Phantom and an F-117 Nighthawk is the number of buttons.
- All of the streetlights in Washington DC use xenon high-intensity-discharge bulbs.
- The biggest threat to America's national security is a poorly supervised recycling program.
- 1 min - I have seen these aircraft schematics before, perhaps in a National Geographic.
- 11 mins - You have a better explanation?
- 23 mins - It is time you had a haircut, Mr. Civilian Reporter.
- 28 mins - Those are some really bright dashboard lights.
- 30 mins - Notice that, despite them being shot out moments ago, the car still has both headlights.
- 36 mins - How long did it take for a fully functional AI to download over a 14.4K modem?
- 40 mins - What in the hell was an M16 doing in there?
- 46 mins - Did he just shoot down an F-16 with a GBU-27 laser-guided bomb?
- 58 mins - "Gotcha!"
- 85 mins - He is going to fire that inside of the tunnel! All three of these men are about to die.
- 86 mins - Well, would you look at that: they're still alive. Will wonders never cease?
- Col. Faraday: "We've got to sever the phone lines before it takes over every computer in the country."
- Capt. Anders: "The space probe has merged with the ASMODeous program."
Gen Anheiser: "And it's one crazy son of a bitch!"
| ||Audio clips in wav format||SOUNDS||Starving actors speak out|| |
||Col. Faraday: "I don't know why DOD has you down here, but you rock the boat on me one more time and I'll come down on you like spent uranium. Conduct your investigation, but keep a low profile. You got it?" |
Capt. Anders: "Yes, sir!"
||McCall: "Space cadets! Probably CIA." |
Capt. Anders: "No, they weren't CIA."
McCall: "Teenage Martian ninjas then. Ha, ha, very funny. You should sit in this damned chair, and let them stick you with glow juice!"
||Interrogator: "So the two of you stole the F-19, because the base was under attack by a UFO?" |
McCall: "Did you know that the average Washington (DC) commuter drives about two-hundred miles a year with his eyes closed? The blinking; you blink about once every five seconds."
Interrogator: "Could we stick with the topic, Mr. McCall."
Capt. Anders: "How many times do I have to tell you? Col. Faraday told us to take the plane!"
||Capt. Anders: "They're cannibalizing the whole base!" |
Gen. Anheiser: "I don't know about you, but this situation is scaring the muffins out of me."
| ||Click for a larger image||IMAGES||Scenes from the movie|| |
| ||Watch a scene||VIDEO||MPEG video files|| |
|ASMODeous is taking over the base, despite the efforts of some heroic Air Force personnel who turn the tables on their captors...then try to run away. Trying to flee across open tarmac seems like a bad idea. Yup, bad idea.
| ||Leave a comment||EXTRAS||Buy the movie|| |
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