Review by Sean Boelman
When talking about sci-fi B-movies that seem like unlikely franchise starters, the 2018 Aussie flick Occupation should be right up there with Skyline, yet here we are. An attempt to expand the mythology of the franchise but a boring action movie in execution, Occupation: Rainfall proves that not everything should become a series.
The film follows a band of survivors in Australia two years after an alien invasion as they fight in a war against their extraterrestrial foes. Like almost every low-rent sci-fi “epic”, there is a quest on which our human heroes must embark, resulting in a stunning discovery that will fundamentally change their understanding of interplanetary relations.
Perhaps the biggest issue with this movie is its atrocious pacing. Even though it’s only about ten minutes longer than the first film, this drags substantially more. Perhaps it’s because this premise is much more fitting to a survival thriller than an overly self-serious war movie, or perhaps it’s because the action is simply uninspired.
Almost all of the human characters are indistinguishable from one another. At least in the first film, there was some sense of development, even if everyone was an archetype. Here, it’s hard to tell one gun-toting military buffoon from the next, especially when they are basically competing against one another to see who is the most ignorant.
That is, of course, except for the comedic relief characters played by Ken Jeong and Jason Isaacs. Jeong’s scientist and Isaacs’s slacker alien are one of the few things in this movie that are close to being entertaining, but feel so out-of-place and wreck the film’s tone that they can’t bring anything to the movie. And yes, Isaacs’s talents are wasted being the goofy sidekick of Jeong.
Dan Ewing can’t lead a movie for his life. His performance is about as dull as they come, delivering the lines in a monotonous way. A majority of the cast doesn’t fare much better. The wonderfully talented Temuera Morrison is woefully underused here, not given much to do in the way of action but still serving as a bright spot in the film.
The visual effects of the movie are a bit of a mixed bag. The CGI actually isn’t that bad, which is a bit surprising given the fact that the film clearly isn’t a blockbuster. However, there are other areas that could have used some improvement. The cinematography is plain and the fight choreography bland. And perhaps worst of all, the alien design is absolutely laughable.
Occupation was never a great movie, but at least it was a somewhat entertaining sci-fi thriller. Occupation: Rainfall, the filmmakers’ attempt to turn the property into a cash cow franchise is a travesty, wasting a few big names in its cast and not even working well as a mindless action-thriller.
Occupation: Rainfall is now in theaters and on VOD.