Attack of the Unknown Film Review

★★

Directed by: #BrandonSlagle

Written by: #BrandonSlagle #MichaelMahal #SonnyMahal

Starring: #RichardGrieco #JoleneAndersen #RobertLaSardo #DouglasTait #TaraReid


Film Review by: #ChrisBuick

After finally apprehending infamous drug-lord Hades (LaSardo), LA SWAT team leader Vernon (Grieco) and the rest of his crew can finally celebrate to a job well done, while also raising a solemn glass to a lost brother-in-arms. And where better to hold an impromptu celebration/wake than a strip-club right? All that is left is to transport Hades to his future permanent residence, and close the barred door on him for good. But of course, it’s never that simple, especially when an alien invasion gets in the way.


Brothers Sonny and Michael Mahal have made quite a name for themselves delivering a slew of high-concept, low-budget projects such as Art of the Dead and Party Bus to Hell that despite lacking in fiscal terms, go insanely big on imagination and quite frankly, ridiculousness. With seemingly no signs of slowing down, Mahal Empire Films now brings us Attack of the Unknown, a film that sadly doesn’t go big enough on memorable insanity to allow itself to become “so bad it's good”, instead finding itself stranded amongst the mediocre.


Attack of the Unknown has pretty much a little bit of everything you would expect (and want) going in to a movie like this, questionable performances of well-worn stereotypes, huge gaping plot holes, hilariously ridiculous dialogue and plenty of “really?” moments, all the things fans of this type of film (myself very much included) crave and love about such films.


The problem is, while its clear the filmmakers are trying to do something a bit different with the genre, Attack of the Unknown spends too much of its overlong runtime taking itself a bit too seriously when it should have been throwing everything at the wall, the film never truly unleashes itself and its potential for delightfully batshit entertainment until the last twenty minutes. Of course, there are obvious budget restrictions which the film for the most part succeeds in masking, but there is also a lot of unnecessary time and money misplaced in inconsequential stretches of drawn-out exposition and dialogue, which could have easily been trimmed and repurposed into creating more streamlined, gung-ho eighty-minute thrill-ride.


The fair-size cast is built up by a smorgasbord of B movie veterans as well as a few recurring faces from previous Mahal films such as LaSardo and Grieco, as well as a cameo from low-budget hall-of-famer and Mahal favourite Tara Reid. Performances are as expected, commitment levels fluctuate but ultimately, they deliver what they need to and Grieco tries his best to inject some heart and gravitas into his role, while LaSardo seems right at home in his typical bad guy space.


Attack of the Unknown deserves credit for thinking and aiming as big as it can, as well as trying to do something a bit different with the well-worn alien invasion trope, but rather than swinging for the fences in terms of stupid fun and ludicrousness like it perhaps should, it takes itself a little too seriously and waits a little too long to deliver the goods. Die-hard fans of the kinds of movies the Mahals create might eat this up, but for most it's probably not going to cut it.

#ChrisBuick


Watch the trailer for Attack of the Unknown: