With some ironic features, PROJECT: ALIEN uses the themes of UFOs and roving newsmen to highlight the shadier side of government practices.
In the region surrounding Trondheim, Norway, a series of mysterious events coincide with an exceptionally bright meteor shower. The pilot of a plane reports engine trouble and is downed; a strange illness affects people in the northern latitudes, and a local farmer reports the disembowling of his
cattle. An American army colonel, Clancy (Charles Durning), bustles through various air-controller offices demanding that little information be disseminated and that no mention be made to NATO. Despite these limitations, a newspaper reporter, Jeff Milker (Michael Nouri), discovers the name of the
missing pilot, visits his wife and learns that he was both an experienced flyer and skydiver. Crippled by a leg wound, that pilot is seen firing flares to attract rescuers, but seems instead to have drawn the attention of a team of clumsily suited figures who capture and subject him to medical
In an effort to follow up his leads, Milker hires aviatrix "Bird" MacNamara (Darlanne Fluegel) to transport him to the crash site. She has been contracted to supply a group of geologists near the site, and they are wary of Milker, since they've discovered an archaeological anomaly and fear
premature disclosure. One of them, Professor Stein, however, had photographed the meteor shower, and Milker cunningly gets the developed film to show to a local UFO expert, Corbin (Darren Nisbitt), in one of the film's more ironic sequences. Various members of the geological team come down with a
serious illness and a group of nearby gypsies, also sick, are terrified by a visit from mysterious "insect figures who suck blood." When Milker and MacNamara fly in again they discover one of the team near death and another vanished. "Bird" flies back with the sick man, only to be met by a
near-apoplectic Clancy and a team of military police, while Milker wanders through the woods leaving behind a trail of broken cigarettes, his signature gesture.
Clumsily imprisoned in a room with an open window, MacNamara escapes and finds her plane, followed by well-known TV newsman George Abbott (Maxwell Caulfield) and his side-kick cameraman. They follow Milker's cigarette path to a secret bunker with an isolated hospital ward full of sick gypsies and
the missing Professor Stein. Following a harmless shootout with Colonel Clancy, MacNamara, an army brat with a wide range of military training, takes the would-be captors captive and escapes in their helicopter. During the flight, Clancy explains that the meteor shower was debris from a damaged
space station aboard which biological experiments went awry, causing the epidemic, and the suspected victims were taken by the suited government operatives. Pursued by jets, Milker throws his film overboard and following some aerial pyrotechnics, they all reach the ground safely. The film ends on
a gently ironic note with Milker's photos being incorporated into one of Corbin's UFO lectures.
Despite its good humor and irony, PROJECT: ALIEN's modest production values result in a mediocre film. Acute angles and mist-filled lights notwithstanding, the space-suited creatures remain quite convincingly human, while the secret bunker is clearly man-made despite some fancy gadjetry. The
jokes about the rivalry between print and television newsmen are belied by Milker's apparent ability to rent a private plane and pilot, while Colonel Clancy's threats are undercut by his troops' lack of any ferocity. Even the locations are tepid and could be any wooded temperate region, and,
indeed, the film was lensed not in Norway, but in Yugoslavia. (Adult situations.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: With some ironic features, PROJECT: ALIEN uses the themes of UFOs and roving newsmen to highlight the shadier side of government practices. In the region surrounding Trondheim, Norway, a series of mysterious events coincide with an exceptionally bright m… (more)