From the moment the aliens appeared on screen in Alien Addiction there was one thing that entered my head. There was one person who, above anyone else, instantly sprang to mind when I saw them.
That person? Jeremy Clarkson. That’s right, the former host of Top Gear and now The Grand Tour on Amazon is precisely who writer and director Shae Sterling has based his aliens on.
If you need further proof then the shuffling awkward walk and large paunch, you can wait for the scene, part way into the movie, when the alien’s stoner Earth-friend Riko, Jimi Jackson (“The Australiana Hostel (TV)”), takes both aliens to a thrift shop and puts a black, curly wig on the man. And the face is an arse.
The reason I mention this? Well, it transpires that “High Octane” was a motor series, that started in 2001, a year before Top Gear on the BBC, that was full of high-jinks, entertainment and laughs. The director of High Octane? Was none other than Ketzal Sterling.
No really, Ketzal wrote and directed High Octane 2 and 3, with Shae coming in from 4 onwards. It seems that the latter Sterling has a grudge to bear with a certain Mr. Clarkson, or perhaps he’s just bitter? I don’t know, but it seems a stretch to base the main people of your film on a grudge.
Riko, and his friends Rabbit, Harry Summerfield (“Oddballs (TV)”, “The Kik (TV)”), Tama, Tukairangi Maxwell, and Hemi, Tane Huata (“Santa’s Smoko (Short)”, “You’re A Wizard Kevin (Short)”), are a bunch of gaming stoners in a beautiful part of New Zealand.
Riko lives with his auntie, Veronica Edwards (“Find Me A Maori Bride (TV)”), who is a confused old woman who one day announces she has seen aliens. In the toilet. An alien eye no less. Naturally Riko dismisses the talk as that of a confused old woman, that is until he sees the blue-faced bros for himself.
Following a mysterious pipe leading from his house to their spaceship, he introduces himself and discovers that the two aliens are just after a good time, they want to party and smoke some major dope which to them, means human excrement.
Meanwhile alien spotter Peter Macintosh, Thomas Sainsbury (“The Adventures Of Suzy Boon (TV)”, “Filthy Rich (TV)”), and his assistant Saleem, Ayham Ghalayini, are hunting the aliens themselves, mistaking Riko and his woman Jacinta, JoJo Waaka, for the aliens.
The first third of Alien Addiction is where the movie really shines. Sterling pulls of some, well, sterling shots of the beautiful landscapes he has on hand. Meanwhile the story is funny, quick and things are being setup nicely.
Jackson is a rubber-faced actor, like a slightly less manic Jim Carey back in the day, and Sterling puts him through the ringer but equally allows him to have plenty of moments to really let loose. He won’t be for everyone, but he handles things very well.
The film begins to fall down around the middle-half, the jokes, or rather singular joke, begins to wear a bit thin and the movie struggles to maintain the pace and energy we had when our four main guys were together, having a laugh and shooting the shit.
Instead Riko is off on his own adventures, with the other three guys just popping up when it’s convenient for the story, it’s a shame because keeping all of these guys together would have made things very interesting.
But, for a funny, goofball-style movie, Alien Addiction is a good film and shows some good promise from Sterling who obviously knows how to show off a landscape, maybe his next film will target Richard Hammond, or James May?
Alien Addition had its UK Premiere (with Q&A) on 18th May as part of SCI-FI-LONDON (15-22 May).