A sequel to 2018’s sci-fi thriller ‘Occupation’ (watch that one first if you want to know or truly care about these characters), ‘Occupation: Rainfall’ centers around a separatist cell centered in Australia that is trying to survive two years into an alien drone attack and subsequent occupation, and in the face of still more hostile invaders.
Right off the bat, the film introduces its strongest element: Special and practical effects. It’s all guns and lasers and explosions during heavy-handed fight sequences. The aliens and other space beings are also far beyond impressive, giving serious ‘Star Wars’ vibes - in a very good way.
The cast of humans, on the other hand, is slightly less impressive, making the fighting sequences feel like something out an underwhelming interstellar ‘Saving Private Ryan.’
They shout at each other over the sounds of blaster fire and argue with each other about the stakes and the next course of action before almost every move. But as a bonus, all the shouting is done in Australian accents, and that’s nice.
A small squad is sent to what is supposed to be Sydney, Australia, with the main objective of finding out information concerning the mysterious project Rainfall. The operation runs into a snag, however, when 2/3 of the movie passes and they still know nothing.
All the same, it does not take away from the occasional moments of stellar acting from Temuera Morrison as Peter and Lawrence Makoare as Garry the (Well-Meaning) Alien, my personal favorite character in the film.
When Garry joins the “research team” and a mob of distrustful Earthlings show up to lynch him — pitchforks and all, Morrison hits the longest home run with a single piece of dialogue: “Our story as a species,” he tells the people, “is not all the times we fall, but that we rise again. Every single time.”
This line resonates that much clearer in a world in which our human race is continually rising to not only look out for one another — like Peter does for Garry — but to survive in the midst of incredible adversity. It’s the best moment in the whole movie.
Along the same lines of dialogue, Ken Jeong was severely underutilized in the sort of comic relief role he always plays (I’d been hoping to see him be as hardcore as everyone else), as was Steve the Alien (like Garry, but a goofball), but these limited presences added a lot.
Their most significant contribution? Clueing everyone else in on Rainfall - a large asteroid fragment able to wipe out planets that the invaders were very keen on retrieving.
The film’s final act is mostly the final fight, with a little bit of diplomacy-gone-wrong-power-struggling to set it up. Once again, special effects save the day.
I won’t spoil the ending, since it set up the franchise for a potential third movie, but I’ll say that fans of films like ‘Independence Day’ will simply adore this franchise. And for we non-science fiction people, it’s a bit like being stranded on another planet.
Review by: Ashley J. Cicotte