Review: Alpha Code

Written and directed by Keoni Waxman, Johana, a woman with no past, is hiding from a UN Agent Bowie, a head of secret space program. On her run she meets Martin and with help of Bowie’s ex-colleague Lance they both help Martin to find his half alien daughter. Starring: Bren Foster, Denise Richards, Randy Couture, Marek Vasut, Sabina Rojková, Jordan Haj, Vojtech Dyk and Massimo Dobrovic.

Diving into this film there’s a certain element of you know what you’re getting, it can’t be approached as if you’re anticipating a big-budget studio epic sci-fi, otherwise you’ll quickly be disappointed. One of the other elements going in which is best left alone, especially when talking about extra-terrestrials, is adding the ‘true story’ element. Here in particular it only undermines the story, it should be a fun adventure, not an attempt to recreate an outlandish claim. However, it does fall into one of the typical problems of sci-fi rather fast, a simple story that tries to add too many convoluted details and just gets lost in the fray. It’s revelations are similarly easy to predict, though the foundation of its story is realistically a staple of cinema at this point, searching for a disappeared family member.

Although there is a slight problem with that, in the sense that Bren Foster and Sabina Rojková do not feel at all like father and daughter. If this were any other film, they’d more than likely be paired in an older-man, younger woman relationship and it’s hard to avoid that. Especially when Foster is constantly trying too hard, it’s as if he’s trying to emulate a Bourne style character which is aiming too high. His focus feels like it’s in the wrong place, more on the physical side of things than trying to build the emotions of his character, leaving him unconvincing. The same can be said of most of the cast, they tick the boxes but none of them manage to build more than a basic layer to their character. Although surprisingly, Denise Richards may actually do the best job of creating a sympathetic character.

Visually, it’s mostly what you’d expect, thankfully it doesn’t rely too heavily on effects although it does have a penchant for throwing in a few extra glitches here and there. It’s a shame they didn’t try to lean further into the action, pull in a faster pace or a more vibrant colour, it’s all fairly average. It tries to make it feel as though there’s a lot happening but when you look at it as a whole, not much actually does. The fight choreography also feels like it wasn’t working in tandem with the direction and editing, with some shots not being able to hide the requisite near misses.

Alpha Code undermines itself before it even begins by wanting audiences to believe that a story about alien abduction and government coverups is true, it’s simply not something your average viewer will go in for. Setting that tone means it can’t go far from there, and unfortunately it’s a predictable affair which doesn’t spend enough time building the mystery or the personalities of its characters to give you something to invest in. The direction and cinematography both feel mundane, it misses out on trying to add more energy or speed. Put simply, it’s exactly what you expect it will be.

Verdict: ✯½ | 3/10

Available on VOD from June 14th

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