Blu-ray Review: Occupation (2018)

By , Contributor
If you are a hardcore, dyed-in-the-wool Star Wars fan—the prequel trilogy, specifically—you may consider Occupation to be required viewing. Temuera Morrison, Jango Fett and Commander Cody to Star Wars geeks the world over, stars in the Australian-produced Occupation. If that sounds like a big stretch to find a reason to recommend the film, c'est la vie. As alien invasion films go, this one is a skipper. Even if you've already seen Neill Blomkamp's Best Picture-nominated District 9 multiple times, see it again if you're seeking a movie about alien's invading Earth.

The first act unfolds like a traditional disaster film, introducing us to its cast of characters. Unfortunately for we viewers, there simply isn't a memorable personality in the bunch. It takes place in a rural Australian community, which at the very least justifies why the whole film feels so small in scope (limited budget, too). Aliens invade and the humans fight back. Nothing we haven't seen countless times before, which would've be fine if writer-director Luke Sparke had bothered to dress up the old trope with some new duds. Formula doesn't feel like formula when we have elements like interesting characters, inspired performances, or quirky humor—but Sparke doesn't deliver.

Occupation apparently found its way into some U.S. theaters this past summer (you wouldn't know it from searching BoxOfficeMojo). And as such, it did get some press outside of Australia. Positive, or at least forgiving, reviews were issued by prestige publications including Village Voice, Los Angeles Times, and Hollywood Reporter. Maybe they saw more in Occupation than I did. I suspect they were grading on a scale, given than this is a foreign film and not a splashy Hollywood production.

The good reviews are truly perplexing, as this is one hard-to-sit-through 120 minutes. Remember when Independence Day: Resurgence came out, after years of high anticipation, and was summarily dismissed as junk? That film struggled to clear the $100 million mark domestically and made a disappointing $286 million overseas. But you know what? Resurgence is much more fun than it was given credit for, and much more worth your time than Occupation.

Again, unless you're a huge Jango Fett fan.

Occupation is currently available on Blu-ray via Lionsgate.

Occupation BD.jpg

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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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