Interceptor Force 2 (2002)

a.k.a. - They Have Returned (UK) Alpha Force (USA)

Olivier Gruner takes on another alien in a highly enjoyable Sci-Fi Channel actioner. Boulevard Entertainment DVD UK R0 DVD.

The Film

When an alien spacecraft crashes near Grozny in southern Russia and a mysterious attack is reported on a military base, the US Government send Sean Lambert (Olivier Gruner) and Nathan McCallister to investigate. They discover that the alien is holed up in a nuclear power plant and have to work alongside a Russian officer to defeat it, but he seems reluctant to let them into the plant and they find that the creature is able to disguise itself as anyone it has killed...

Interceptor Force 2 is a rare example in the world of DTV and Sci-Fi channel movies, a proper sequel - following on quite closely from the original film it has a number of storyline connections and retains the main character, although it is perfectly watchable on its own. The first film was quite a minor production, borrowing heavily from Predator (1984) with hints of The Thing (1982) it was underwritten and dragged in places. Patrick Phillips' script for part two considerably ups the game, offering more action scenes and a proper script allowing for some actual characterisation.

The best part is that the creature's impersonating abilities are much better used, giving a touch of Thing-esque mystery over the true identity of several of the characters and building some genuine tension at times. The creature itself is better defined with a given reason for being on the planet and killing off everyone it encounters. The military team makes sense as well now, with Sean being part of a dedicated taskforce rather than a hired mercenary being inexplicably kept in the dark. While many of the more recent Sci-Fi Channel original films have gone for self-aware comedy, Phillips keeps a straight tone, although he never takes things too seriously - this is clear from the opening scene with Olivier Gruner's character jumping off a dam into an aircraft cockpit. Pacing is always strong and the film boasts a dramatic, action packed finale with a neat ending.

Producer Phillip J. Roth returns to direct this sequel and it has a better than average look for the genre. The usual Bulgarian locations explain the film's Russian setting but the interiors are impressive, replacing the gloomy inexplicably pipe-laden corridors of most DTV actioners with brightly lit and plausible looking sets that convince as a nuclear power plant. The special effects are better than expected - the full CGI opening space fight and air-to-air sequence looks really good - the full alien still looks noticably computer generated and in the final fight scenes its movements are too weightless, but its conversions to resemble its victims are smoothly edited and look impressive.

Olivier Gruner returns in the lead role and is on top form here, although he never gets much chance to show off his martial arts skills, instead using firearms through most of the film. Roger R. Cross looks good as his number two, while Adrienne Wilkinson is well cast as the demure science officer. Veteran British character and television actor Nigel Bennett plays the boss at headquarters.

Interceptor Force 2 is really the film that the first one should have been - while it still takes inspiration from a variety of other sources, it has plenty of its own flair now and with a good cast, strong pacing, decent effects and solid direction there is plenty to enjoy here.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Olivier Gruner - French martial arts action star who also appeared in The Circuit (2002)
Directed by anyone interesting? Philip J Roth - owner of the UFO (Unified Film Organization) production company he has directed a number of films including the original Interceptor Force (1999) and creature feature Python (2000)
Any gore or violence ? A number of bloody deaths.
Any sex or nudity? None
Who is it for? Fans of low budget action and thrillers should enjoy this.

Visuals Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1 academy. Colour
Picture quality is fine, good colours and plenty of detail.
Shot for television premiere so the academy ratio is correct.
Audio English stereo - sounds fine.
Subtitles None
Extras The disc includes:
  • Trailer
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? Available in the US from Image Entertainment
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. Titles and credits are in English.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 16th December 2014.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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