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  Occupation: Rainfall From Out Of Space To Oz
Year: 2020
Director: Luke Sparke
Stars: Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Gillies, Lawrence Makoare, Zac Garred, Jet Tranter, Mark Coles Smith, Trystan Go, Ken Jeong, Jason Isaacs, Izzy Stephens, Dena Kaplan, David Roberts, Vince Colosimo, Katrina Risteska, Eliza Matengu, Madison Haley
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: It has been four years since the alien invasion arrived and laid waste to Planet Earth, destroying almost all of its main cities and ensuring humanity will be trying to pick itself back up for a long time to come, if indeed it ever does. In Sydney Australia, there is a rebel force, however, which is determined that the aliens do not have everything their own way, and has been fighting back with whatever military might it can muster to at least give the invaders a bloody nose. The trouble is, by doing this rebelling, the aliens are focusing their efforts on destroying them, and while some of the unwanted visitors are rebelling themselves, they do not number enough to make a huge difference to the black uniformed troops that are at the beck and call of the alien leaders...

You could be forgiven for forgetting there was a first Occupation movie, but there was, in 2018 when a group of Australians pulled together whatever resources they could assemble in an attempt to beat Hollywood at their own game. With this sequel, the playing field had levelled somewhat, though not for a good reason: when this was released domestically the Hollywood machine had been temporarily scuppered by the pandemic, so was not seeing much in the way of blockbuster action globally as everyone kept their big movies for a later date when they hoped they could release them to cinemas and make a decent profit. In Australia, they handled it a little better than other places, therefore a chance opened up for local films to step in and provide much needed entertainment.

Or that was the idea, anyway, but as with first time around, although it did find an audience, most of them emerged from the theatre grumbling. It made no secret of how derivative it was, though considering how derivative mainstream movies had turned across the globe there was perhaps no shame in that, but there was something about seeing your nation's cinema copying Hollywood that rankles in some regions - not India, not China, but in English language-speaking countries it seems to be sniffed out and rejected. Director Luke Sparke made decent use of his budget to provide the spectacle, though that let him down on occasion when the effects were not living up to his vision, but on the whole this was a well-put together science fiction action flick. It was just that it was too slavish in following its inspirations when you came down to it.

For a start, Hollywood blockbusters feel the need to be over a couple of hours long, and while some of them really don't need to be, Occupation Rainfall would have made for a decent ninety minutes and did not justify its bloated running time - an issue with the first instalment. Then there was the sudden lapse into comic relief as sitcom star Ken Jeong and leading Brit character actor Jason Isaacs teamed up for a double act that did not come across as vital to the plot, more vital to getting some recognisable names in there, though Isaacs was only heard, with an American accent which rendered him anonymous. Certainly the dedication to action was impressive, but it came across like two or three television episodes edited together instead of a big screen must, and the insistence that this was part one of a two-part experience, a surprise sprung on the unwary who did not know of the production's plans, merely underlined that. It was difficult to invest in two-dimensional characters at the best of times; if anything this had a plot resembling a Saturday morning cartoon, with unnecessary swearing to keep away the little kids who might appreciate it. Music by Frederik Wiedmann.

[Signature Entertainment presents Occupation Rainfall in Cinemas and on Digital from 9 July 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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