51 DVD Review

Written by Ilan Sheady

DVD released by G2 Pictures

Directed by Jason Connery
Written by Kenny Yakkel & Lucy Mukerjee
2011, Region 2 (PAL), 86 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 26th September 2011

Bruce Boxleitner As Col. Martin
Jason London as Aaron Schumacher
Rachel Miner as Sgt. Hannah
Vanessa Branch as Claire
John Shea as Sam Whitaker


The American government has decided to reveal and finally open the doors to the fabled area 51 to a group of reporters on the EXACT day the aliens, hidden within, initiate a deadly escape. What are the chances? I mean seriously?

Anybody who looks at the cover and reads the name ‘51’ can roughly guess a storyline, unfortunately whatever you have in your head is better than what you end up watching.  The main reason for this is because 51 is a film that is desperately at odds with itself. On one side of the coin it has a tongue-in-cheek checklist of every single military cliché, high camp script and character stereotypes. But just when you start to see it as the seemingly live-action cartoon that it is trying to be, a few minutes later you get the second side of the coin which has some pretty gory surprises. Effectively it’s like watching a Disney film and then the princess suddenly stops singing and drops a string of F-bombs.

The gore in question is actually quite shocking at times but it’s hard to say if it’s because it is staged well or because of the contrast with the rest of the film. A death scene, after all, is a lot more dramatic in a teen comedy than it is in a horror film. Only problem is, when it happens the context makes it pretty laughable.

One thing in 51’s favour is it contains the worst creature since the 1953 movie Robot Monster (a gorilla suit with a diving helmet on it), and as much as I hate to ruin ‘big surprises’ it might benefit the film if, out of pure curiosity, you want to see the first alien species that can effectively be stopped by a cattle grid. The only reason it’s even a threat is because this film portrays the American military as being totally inept.

If you can see past the bland storyline and god-awful script there’s a chance you might be at the right mentality to get some fun out of the film. There’s some pretty funny casting; John Shea (Lois & Clarke, Mutant X),  Jason London (Dazed & Confused) and Bruce Boxleitner (Tron, Babylon 5). With maybe a little extra planning they could have cast Tim Curry as a General and Jeffrey Combs as the head scientist. Yes, clichéd, but at least it would have been one heck of a cult film and 51 could have been entertaining for the RIGHT reasons. Instead you’ll point and laugh at every plot twist and every obstacle but if you are in the right company, that may be what you are after.



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