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Attack of the Unknown (2020)

The Manic Street Preachers once stated that originality is boring, a mantra the writers and director of Attack of the Unknown must share with the Welsh rockers.

This is a film that wears its influences on its sleeve; chief among them being 2011’s Battle: Los Angeles. Thrown into this mix is a little bit of 2010’s Skyline and even Independence Day. The characters and dialogue also have a touch of the Michael Bay’s about them. Like Bay’s world women are submissive sex objects, strong sex objects, or tough lesbians. These nods to Bay include a (I’m sure) unintentionally funny sex scene.

The film itself is enjoyable despite being so familiar. The action set pieces are exciting and well choreographed. This gives the first hour of the film a good pace to it. Unfortunately the last act overstretches itself; the film could have used losing ten minutes from its runtime.

Amongst the action and slightly clichéd dialogue there are some good performances. Jonny Haung plays the comic relief with great sense of timing. Robert Donavan plays his part with a suability missing from the rest of the film.

The special effects team have also done well with, what I can imagine, was a tight budget; the arrival of and the mother ship itself both look realistic. There is also some really nice looking moments during the battles. The aliens themselves are less impressive. Whilst I like practical effects, these are more akin to 1980’s Doctor Who then the 2020’s.

The film ends with what seems like a hint to there will be a sequel. The aliens in Attack of the Unknown could easily lend themselves to a much more original story than this. If there is a sequel, or even a franchise, the foundations for what could be some cleaver and entertaining films has been laid here.

Attack of the Unknown is an entertaining if very unoriginal movie. There is a good idea hidden within this film, hopefully, if there are, sequels they will explore this a little more.

Marks out of 10: 6

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