Year:  2020

Director:  Luke Sparke

Rated:  M

Release:  January 28, 2021

Distributor: Monster Pictures

Running time: 128 minutes

Worth: $14.00
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Cast:
Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Gillies, Lawrence Makoare, Jet Tranter, Kevin Jeong

Intro:
…big, dumb fun.

Tell you what, one thing Aussie director Luke Sparke doesn’t lack? Chutzpah. In 2018, he released Occupation, an action-packed alien invasion flick that got a lot of bang for its buck but didn’t exactly set the local box office on fire. Undaunted, Sparke went straight into pre-production on its ambitious sequel, Occupation: Rainfall. And the result? Eh, you know what? It’s a mostly good time.

Occupation: Rainfall continues the alien invasion yarn of Occupation. Most of the Earth’s cities have been taken over by a fairly unpleasant group of organisms, but humanity – being a bunch of stubborn buggers – is fighting back. On the side of good are beefy jock shooty man, Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing), certified bad arse (and Bobba Fett on The Mandalorian!) Peter Bartlett (Temuera Morrison) and the uber efficient Captain Wessex (Mark Coles Smith).

After Sydney is basically destroyed (soz everyone), this group of bonzer battlers must take the fight to the aliens, in a plan involving secret tech known as “Rainfall” and an extended cameo from Ken Jeong and a turncoat alien named Steve (voiced by Jason Isaacs no less).

The thing you have to know about Occupation: Rainfall is that it’s big, dumb fun. It has zero interest in nuance, subtlety or logic. Hell, it’s the kind of film that would make Independence Day blush at some of its plot contrivances. It’s also, after the rather too busy opening ten minutes, a lot of fun if you can go along with its at times corny rhythms. This is an alien invasion ripped right out of an epic session of X-COM 2 and something big and explosive (and silly) is likely to happen every five or so minutes.

The cast are all having a good time, particularly Dan Ewing who seems born to play roles like this, and while the special effects are occasionally ropey, you can’t help but admire the ambition on display. Luke Sparke would do well to hire a script doctor to punch up some of the story beats and dialogue if the heavily implied Occupation 3 ever manifests, but it’s still appealing to see an Aussie writer/director swing so passionately and ambitiously for the fences.

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