OCCUPATION: RAINFALL Review: Second installment is more of a drizzle than downpour
Alien invasion films are nothing new, so it can be hard to find a new twist. In Luke Sparke’s 2020 release Occupation: Rainfall, viewers are offered a familiar problem with some nuance: what if the aliens aren’t the only bad guys?
As a sequel to his 2018 film Occupation, Sparke continues the saga of a motley band of Australians who make up the grass-roots resistance against the invaders, the Greys. (Remember, there’s more than one accepted spelling of gray/grey, Americans! And this is an Australian film. Don’t at me.)
The Australian government and military are vastly outgunned, seemingly as the rest of the world — it’s made abundantly clear that neither the American or British will be of any help, as they are having their own struggles. But far from dependent on any other states, the government makes its own plan to combat the aliens. This is one of the places where the nuance of the film begins to develop. Counter to the government’s intent to rid the continent (and the world) of the alien invaders, some of the aliens defect and align themselves with humans who are seeking peace and co-existence. This riles both the aliens — who claim to have put “dibs” on planet Earth in a unique evolutionary plot twist — and the humans, who are understandably trying not to be permanently removed from their home. In the typical “us vs. them” sci fi showdown, there is clearly an evil force that needs to be reckoned with. In Occupation: Rainfall, evil can be found on both sides of the war.
Wars do drag on, but the battle scenes and the lead up to the actual plot really take longer than necessary. Although the special effects are decent, there are just too many needless battle scenes that do nothing to further the action. The first hour of the 2-hour-plus film is full of battle scenes, and even some sub plots that could have been shortened without losing their effect or importance.
Several characters from the original film continue their fight in this installment, including sister-and-brother main characters Amelia and Marcus Chambers (Jet Tranter [who replaced Stephany Jacobsen] and Trystan Go) and father-daughter team of Peter and Bella Bartlett (everyone’s favorite original bounty hunter Temuera Morrison and Izzy Stevens). Morrison brings needed gravitas to the film, which is hit-or-miss with dialogue and acting.
There are, however, several light bits of comedy, courtesy of northern hemisphere actors Ken Jeong and Jason Isaacs, who play the Odd Couple of American scientist and government representative Bud Miller and Steve the Alien, respectively. Steven the Alien seems to have been on Earth and under Bud’s tutelage for years before the 2018 alien landing, and he is full of American pop culture references and slang — a huge impediment for Garry, who is still getting the hang of his adopted language.
As the race to solve the mystery of the aliens’ search for “Rainfall” closes in, the grass roots resistance manages to save the alien race from total destruction. However, the aliens escape with Marcus, Bella, Garry, and military man with a soft heart Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing, also reprising his role) stowed away in the spaceship. The aliens have found their “Rainfall” and it’s evident that the next installment will show us how the humans and alien rebels will continue to fight to stay alive, and perhaps co-exist.
Viewers can watch this film without having seen the first movie in this series, although it may be advisable to do so. Sparke teases us with the next installment, ostensibly called Operation: Rainfall Chapter 2
Occupation: Rainfall is available now in select US movie theaters, on DVD and Blu Ray, and streaming via iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.
Cathy Kramer LaFrance (she/her)
A solid Gen Xer from the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Star Wars apologist. Eowyn stan. Unabashed Whovian. Bad b-movie lover, a la Svengoolie and MST3K. Music trivia nerd and record collector. Gluten free and proud of it.
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