Review / ‘Occupation’ (M) no stars

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LUKE Sparke’s career is long on working in the costume departments of TV documentary series, leading to directing one feature actioner before coming to this one for which he also wrote the screenplay.

It comes from somewhere in space. It’s ugly. It tolerates no opposition. It’s smart enough to get to our planet, too dumb to try another way of colonising it than killing all of its people except a handful of north Queenslanders whose annual festival they have crashed with malicious intent.

I forebore from leaving “Occupation” because I wanted to see if Sparke’s creativity was going to improve after a first act that promised little. Then I became bemused by its dreadful treatment. Not because the local community deserved that but because of a screenplay that to me said only that the writer hadn’t done enough homework.

His cast of competent workaday Australian actors (save for New Zealander Temuera Morrison) delivers trite banal dialogue in situations that simply don’t add up. It’s not because one side of the conflict came from another galaxy. Rather, after eight months, those invaders still haven’t conquered the whole planet and the handful of surviving earthlings are still waiting for a small unit of the Australian Defence Force commanded by a winsome colonel (Jacqueline McKenzie) to arrive with antique military materiel and terminate them with extreme prejudice and violence.

I confess to smiling as the end approached, with shots of Sydney’s bridge and the Opera House lying wrecked and a character asking, why shouldn’t we extend friendship’s hand to people who obviously had come to earth because their home planet had become uninhabitable! Where would movies be without extra-terrestrials  arriving here in search of somewhere as good as what they left behind?

Like most films in the action genre, “Occupation” may well please fans who don’t question what they’re watching.

At Dendy

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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