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OCCUPATION: RAIFALL (2021)
Occupation: Rainfall poster

CAST
DAN EWING
LAWRENCE MAKOARE
JET TRANTER
VINCE COLOSIMO
ZAC GARRED
DANIEL GILLES
JASON ISAACS
KEN JEONG
DENA KAPLAN
TENUERA MORRISON
KATRINA RISTESKA
DAVID ROBERTS
MARK COLES SMITH
IZZY STEVENS

WRITTEN BY
LUKE SPARKE

EDITED BY
LUKE SPARKE

CINEMATOGRAPHY BY
WADE MULLER

MUSIC BY
FREDERIK WIEDMANN

PRODUCED BY
CARLY IMRIE
GEOFF IMRIE

DIRECTED BY
LUKE SPARKE

GENRE
ACTION
ADVENTURE
SCI-FI

RATED
AUS:M
UK:NA
USA:NA

RUNTIME
128 MIN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

occupation Rainfall image

Occupation: Rainfall proves to be a more proficient and engaging sequel to its 2018 predecessor, with director Luke Sparke upping the spectacle and the stakes in this Australian made sci-fi action soap opera.

The first Occupation movie was a case of a filmmaker’s reach unable to match his ambition. An independently made invasion action thriller, the film featured scenes of big-action spectacle Australian audiences would rarely see from homegrown movies, yet was constantly undercut by its budget restrictions. Occupation: Rainfall lives up to that promise. Bolstered by a bigger budget and director Luke Sparke’s constant evolution as a filmmaker, Occupation: Rainfall continues its story of alien conquerors invading heartland Australia with impressive craft and infectious energy.

Set two years after the events of the first movie, Occupation: Rainfall begins with the human resistance on the backfoot as the alien invaders launch a fresh onslaught. When newly acquired intel suggests that the aliens are after something called “Rainfall”, it is up to grizzled soldier Matt (Dan Ewing) and alien ally Garry (Lawrence Makoare) to find Rainfall before the enemy does. Meanwhile, peacemaker Amelia (Jet Tranter) must contend with a fanatical general (Daniel Gilles) who she suspects is a war criminal.

Writer and director Luke Sparke funnels Stars Wars and Independence Day through an Australian lens to make a homegrown sci-fi action indie that successfully partners Australian aesthetic with Hollywood sensibilities. Although its budget of $25 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the blockbusters churned out in Hollywood, Sparke and his dedicated and talented crew of VFX wizards, sound technicians, makeup artists, costume designers (and more) make every cent count, resulting in an impressive display of frugal world building.

Improvement is found in the films action scenes, that while still too close for comfort (show us that choreography Luke!), the intensity matches the stakes at play in this battle for planet Earth. A cool array of new weaponry, space vessels, and a slew of creatures increases that world building even more, and gives further proof to the franchise possibilities for Occupation.

The films story, split into multiple sub-plots, works best as a sci-fi soap opera. Alliances, betrayals, the ethics of war, and even a foray into buddy comedy territory in the partnership of cynical human Matt and eager-to-prove-himself alien Garry, all works in the realm of sci-fi theatre. Performances are fine all around, with special mention to Dan Ewing who successfully portrays Matt as a mix between Han Solo and Mad Max (complete with sawed off shotgun), and Makoare who continues to prove he is one of the best when it comes to creature feature acting. Exports Ken Jeong and Jason Isaacs (the latter as a crack-wise alien) bring the necessary humour.

The end of Occupation: Rainfall teases the potential of a third chapter. Sparke has done plenty here to prove a trilogy is in order.

 

***1/2

 

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