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51


More like a 2.

Rod Lott September 6th, 2011

What if — in an unprecedented move of honest and transparency — the federal government allowed a few reporters to tour Hangar 18 of Area 51? Answer: Syfy would make a terrible movie about it.

51

That movie is “51,” and it rates about a 2. Released under the “After Dark Originals” line on DVD, it takes place at that real-life Air Force base in Nevada, where the rumored Roswell UFOs are supposedly kept. In this flick, there’s no rumor about it.

But don’t tell that the reporters, led by Orbit Gum girl Vanessa Branch (Giselle of the inexplicably popular “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise). As they’re informed matter-of-factly by Col. Martin (Bruce Boxleitner, “TRON: Legacy”), “There are no aliens to be found at Area 51.” Cut to: aliens at Area 51.

Here, the longtime resident alien is “Patient Zero,” a naked, faceless, veiny thing that sits in an all-white room and listens to techno music. (“The band is called Ice Spiders,” says one military lackey, name-checking another terrible made-for-Syfy film.) Patient Zero can mimic humans, which is exactly how he/she/it escapes. Luckily, there’s a way to tell who’s not who: If your pupils don’t contract or expand, you’re not of this earth.

And so begins another tiresome rip-off of “Alien,” but several levels below, both in physical setting and quality. The only thing noteworthy about it that it’s directed by Jason Connery, which means odds are very good that James Bond himself has watched “51,” which is something I’d like to see. Meanwhile, Jason London (“Dazed and Confused”) is a guard forced into the action-hero role, while Boxleitner sounds just like Miguel Ferrer. When did that happen?

At least the flick looks slick. The DVD contains previews of many other After Dark Originals, almost all of which are better than this one. If you’re going to watch any among the recent batch, “The Task” is your best bet. —Rod Lott

 
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