Thursday, August 25, 2005

ALIEN OUTLAW

Writer/director Phil Smoot's low-budget sci-fi "Western," ALIEN OUTLAW (1988) features legendary cowboy star Lash La Rue in his final screen appearance, sans his trademark bullwhip.

Several alien sport hunters (reminiscent of PREDATOR, made around the same time) land in a remote rural community and start hunting down and killing the local rednecks. Meanwhile, attractive trick shot artist Jesse Jamison (Kari Anderson) is trying to move up to the big time with her gun act. When her unreliable assistant goes missing in the mountains with all of her equipment, she goes in search of him, first checking his Uncle Alex's (Las la Rue) ranch. Before long, the shapely sharpshooter is trading bullets with the extraterrestrial "outlaws."

ALIEN OUTLAW is a very low-budget affair with a cast of unknowns and the gimmick of a couple of old time cowboy stars (La Rue and Sunset Carson). The story's not bad, but the pacing is leaden, and the alien invaders are neither very menacing nor visually impressive. Lead Kari Anderson is not quite good enough to carry the movie, either, unfortunately.

VCI's "uncut" disc is loaded with extras and obviously prepared with the full cooperation of the filmmakers. There's a solid 1.66:1 widescreen anamorphic transfer, a commentary track by writer/director Smoot and editor Sherwood Jones, and a couple of short video clips where Sunset Carson interviews La Rue and Anderson for what appears to be a cable access show about old Westerns. There's also some behind the scenes home video footage (including the local press conference when they started production) and a video trailer for director Smoot's previous film with La Rue, a horror flick called THE DARK POWER.

ALIEN OUTLAW is, ultimately, a typical Eighties direct-to video genre piece, notable only for the presence of La Rue and Carson. If that interests you, VCI's disc is a great package, reasonably priced.

BUY: Alien Outlaw