Film Reviews:

The Silencers

(Richard Pepin, US, 1995)

Not to be confused with the 1966 Dean Martin film of the same title (as if you would!), this is an action thriller that revolves around a US Government cover up of UFOs and their occupants that has striking similarities with the SF TV series Dark Skies, which this film seems to pre-date. Secret service agent Rafferty discovers the amazing truth behind a senator's assassination and the death of three of his colleagues when he is pursued by dark-eyed men in black. The MIB (for those who didn't catch Messrs. Smith and Jones this summer) are those who visit witnesses to UFOs and threaten them with death if they talk about their experiences. But when Rafferty is teamed up with a woman from the UFO Times (a Fortean Times-like magazine) and a man who claims to be an alien (Dennis Christopher) he discovers that the infamous MIB are not government agents but aliens who have infiltrated Earth life since a pact made with the US military after the famous Roswell incident.

Beginning with a radio broadcast of the Roswell incident followed by the official disclaimer, the film skips to 1966 where a remote farm is visited by a huge alien spacecraft that literally beams up a cow into its interior and kills the farmer below. His distraught wife and daughter are then visited by the Men In Black. We then jump to the present day to pick up the story with agent Rafferty. Despite this promising start, The Silencers flounders for forty minutes or so before nose-diving into one daft or overly familiar plot turn after another (the 'gateway' from Stargate is thrown into the mix along the way). With the introduction of Dennis Christopher (from Fade To Black fame) as the alien 'Comdor' the scriptwriters seem to have lost interest in the espionage and intrigue and decided instead to turn to comedy for light relief that isn't needed. The film does feature a whole bunch of impressive and explosive stunts keeping the interest peaked (if you like that sort of thing) and more gun shots than a Rambo movie. It's the kind of movie that the Stuntmasters TV series could devote a whole show to, so if you like that kind of thing then this may be for you. If not, I'd suggest you steer clear.

Rob Dyer