Alien Nation 1988

Alien Nation

Critics Consensus

Alien Nation takes the interesting premise of extraterrestrials living among us and doesn't do enough with it, emphasizing a police procedural plotline over the more intriguing sci-fi elements.

53%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

44%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 15,910

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Movie Info

In Los Angeles circa 1991, humans live alongside extraterrestrial humanoid beings whose spaceship crash landed three years earlier. This coexistence is not always harmonious, as exemplified by segregated slums and the uneasy partnership of police detective Matthew Sykes (James Caan) with new humanoid partner Sam Francisco (Mandy Patinkin). However, the pair begin to overcome their differences as they investigate a slum drug ring led by the slippery William Harcourt (Terence Stamp).

Cast & Crew

James Caan
Det. Sgt. Matthew Sykes
Mandy Patinkin
Det. Samuel `'George'` Francisco
Terence Stamp
William Harcourt
Kevyn Major Howard
Rudyard Kipling
Jeff Kober
Joshua Strader
Roger Aaron Brown
Det. Bill Tuggle
Bill Borden
Executive Producer
Curt Sobel
Original Music
Adam Greenberg
Cinematographer
Kent Beyda
Film Editor
Jack T. Collis
Production Design
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Critic Reviews for Alien Nation

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (14)

Audience Reviews for Alien Nation

  • Jun 15, 2020
    Alien Nation was a film I enjoyed when I first viewed it in the 90s. The issue I found with revisiting the film was the lack of any real storyline setup. James Caan is solid in the lead role and is surrounded by a B movie storyline that should've been a lot fun. The issue is the high concept idea and storyline is uneventful. The mis-matched buddy cop idea never gels and the villains aren't overly villainous. This is a missed opportunity and when you see that the films score was changed and the filmmaker lacked the ability to blend the genres together. This would be worthy of an update/remake or even a sequel could work. This had all the makings of a future cult film, but missed the chance by making such a formulaic storyline. Why did they even have the aliens? They really didn't use the concept with the plot. 13/06/2020
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Sep 13, 2018
    Whereas the premise is intriguing and the cultural differences between the two main characters are amusing for a while, soon the movie decides that it should be more action than sci-fi, imploding in an awful last half-hour full of car chases, stupid twists and ugly TV clichés.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 03, 2010
    A great film. A fantastic mixture of science fiction, suspense, comedy and action. A genre-bending classic that you cant help but love. A wonderfully entertaining winner that's just a great buddy-cop movie with lots to offer. A great new twist on a familiar background. A smart, funny and action-packed thrill-ride with solid performances and great special effects. James Caan and Mandy Patinkin are excellent together with their unique and effective chemistry. One of the coolest sci-fi tales of the 80's decade with Terminator and Aliens.
    Al S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 17, 2010
    Graham Baker's engaging science fiction buddy-cop movie, is a very clever and entertaining motion picture. It concerns a massive saucer-shaped alien spaceship that lands in the California desert with some 300,000 genetically engineered extraterrestrial slave laborers abroad, with no way to leave. After a quarantine period, the humans who call them "Newcomers," allow the aliens to assimilate into American culture in southern California where they work, play and live along with humans. But because the Newcomers posses superior intelligence and near superhuman strength, there is a percentage of people in the human community who discriminate against them and call them "Slags." A bigoted, wise-cracking, old school LA Police Detective named Matthew Sykes, played marvelously by James Caan, watches his partner viciously gunned down by some Newcomer thugs during a store robbery, and vows to avenge him. Walled out of the investigation of his partner's murder directly, he elects to accept the first Newcomer detective, Samuel Francisco, played wonderfully by Mandy Patinkin, Sykes renames him George, and hopes that his new partner will uses his ties in the Newcomer community to lead to his partner's killer. It is not long before Sykes discovers that is partner's killing was part of a larger conspiracy involving a corrupt Newcomer official, William Harcourt, superbly played by Terence Stamp, and the distribution of a highly addictive drug that use to control the newcomers. A great concept, with lots of imaginative touches, but it's the chemistry between Caan & Patinkin that makes this movie work, and they are terrific together. Solid direction by Graham Baker, with impressive cinematography by Adam Greenberg. Followed by a TV series and three made-for-TV movies. Highly Recommended.
    Danny R Super Reviewer

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