This movie used to be a staple on late night TV. Saw it again on one of the free movies channels on cable. Sad that a number of movies disappeared from theaters all too quickly. While some of these like 'The Big Lebowski' (1998), 'Shawshank Redemption' (1994), 'Fight Club' (1999), and 'Office Space' (1999) got a second life through social media, older movies sometimes never had a chance. Short theatrical releases, along with name changes as it went region to region, marketing got dropped to save money, causing confusion and not being released in some areas altogether. These old movies tell a story in a different way, they didn't have CGI, big budgets, or sometimes completed scripts, the pace is slower with less action. Studio meddling was all too common leading to post production edit hack jobs that left incoherent prints to be shown in theaters, 'Once a Time in America' (1984) or any Sam Peckinpah movie are good examples of this. Only after being re-edited for home video were these movies watchable. Even successful movies a different version is better to watch providing a fuller story like the European version of 'Vanishing Point' (1971). With all that being said, there is plenty of entertainment value here.
Viewers will recognize a few well know actors. June Lockhart, the mother from Lost in Space has a small role as do a few others. Michael Lerner was the Senator in 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' (2014). Half the fun watching these old movies is trying to remember which tv shows and movies you've seen the actors in. Nancy Allen is the best-known actor and should have been in more movies, but you know, Robocop two and three would've killed anyone's career. Mel Gibson was rumored to be up for the male lead. Whatever you think about the guy he is a great actor, very interesting to watch. The casted lead Paul Le Mat is boring. Most of the scenes in New York could have been cut or made to include Allen would've been a more enjoyable film to watch.
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In the movie, Paul was married to an alien and never knew. Apparently, the difference between blonde ditz and a never been to earth before alien isn't too much of a difference for Paul to notice. Of course, this is the same guy who never tries to clean up his apartment, drops his kid off at his drunken mother's apartment to take off cross country after his disappeared ex-wife. Now, most guys I know if they got sole custody of their kid and ex-wife left the planet they would be very happy. Get a wish from a magic genie and only wish for a 'cold beer' kinda of happy. But nooo Paul needs to track down his missing weirdo ex-wife. Of course, if he stayed at home we wouldn't get to see the aliens kick his ass. But his bestie gets it, giving the viewer one more reason not to like him. Can you tell who I rooting for? During the day this film was made the woman couldn't be the heroine and aliens couldn't be portrayed in a sympathetic light, be an antihero, or have a noble cause for coming half way across the galaxy to Earth. Woman have to be saved and aliens are evil. The fact Ms. Allen could slap Paul around easily sort of ruins the illusion of the damsel in distress.
The special effects are great for the time the film was released and holds up well. The alien makeup is worth the use of the virtual rewind button even by today's standards. Many of the movies from this time period used cheesy FX, make-up and bad stop motion that makes them almost unwatchable. The spaceship does looks like it was borrowed from the Flash Gordon movie. Almost expected a Birdman to come down on a hover cycle to get into the action. Maybe give Nancy Allen someone to ride off into the sunset with. Because you know she's not shacking up with Paul. But this is an enjoyable movie. The freaks they meet along the way keep the movie entertaining and watchable. Seriously if this movie was made in the last decade the director would have found a way to kill off Paully and make the awesome Ms. Allen the hero. Throw some Jiffy Pop on the stove, pop open a can of Tab and enjoy this forgotten nugget from the grainy fuzzy coked-up early 80's.