The Sender is idiotic on an interstellar level and is so awful it doesn’t know when to end insisting instead to aimlessly ramble on for ten minutes after Area 51 has been blown to smithereens! You would think that director Richard Pepin would be itching to bail out since the movie’s story only putrefied more and more as it went along, but there he is giving us scenes of poorly realized aliens waving and endless reunion and goodbye moments like he was getting paid a bonus for surpassing the 90 minute mark!
Pepin really ought to know better since he also directed one of PM Entertainment’s great sci-fi/action hybrid flicks, Dark Breed as well as one its worst, The Silencers. Sadly, instead of the brawny-tough-as-nails-alien-invasion-thwarted-by-Jack-Scalia action of Dark Breed what we end up with in The Sender is closer to the nonsensical evil government/good guy alien mish-mash that sunk The Silencers.
The Sender was pretty much everything I hate in my earthbound science fiction movies, what with its super advanced aliens who never show much advancement, except when the plot dictates it.
For instance, The Sender features an alien that can produce fire balls, sense when people are after her, can cure cancer and bullet wounds, fly around in an advanced spaceship with cloaking features and other gizmos that our government desperately wants.
She can also shape shift into different people, generate whatever clothes she wants, and somehow was able to watch our main character (Michael Madsen in a role that requires him to do nothing more than to take off his sunglasses periodically) grow up and see every important event of his life without him ever knowing she existed! She can even apparently appear and disappear at will.
So why in the world is she spending most of the movie getting chased by R. Lee Ermey’s goons? Why is her spaceship able to be hit by a surface to air missile, but only to the extent that it disables the cloaking device and weapons systems? Why does it take Madsen half the movie to figure out that he and her are being tracked through his pager? And why doesn’t she do a better job of protecting Madsen’s child who is the object of all the car chases? (This is the sort of alien who is content to let a car chase go on for several miles before suddenly deciding to send a fire ball here or there to allow her and Madsen to temporarily escape.)
She and Madsen eventually allow themselves to be captured, presumably so that they would be taken to the facility where his daughter is being held at. This is another bit I never get in these movies. Why do the bad guys always take the people they capture to the same location as the person the good guys are searching for?
And in this particular case, why would you assume the bad guys would take you prisoner when they’ve spent the whole movie trying to kill you? Shoot, the blew up Madsen’s house and R. Lee personally pumped several bullets into Madsen at point blank range in an effort to kill him!
The story borders on being too dumb to even repeat but it involves some mumbo jumbo about an alien gene that Madsen’s daughter possesses that makes her capable of being a Sender which means she can generate a green ball that allows her to travel places, including outer space. The government naturally wants her for their own purposes while the aliens don’t think the earth governments are ready to have that power.
How did she get this alien gene? Don’t know. How did the aliens know one little girl on one little planet in the entire universe had it? Never explained. How does the government know she has it and what it means she is capable of? Who knows! This is a PM Entertainment movie so we’ve got an RV to crash into a truck loaded with hay bales!
And how come these smart ass aliens always send only one of them on these ultra important missions? There was a big mothership screwing around with Madsen’s fighter pilot father in the Bermuda Triangle back in the 1960s during that pointless prologue and the big mothership suddenly appears again at the end of the movie, but where were they when all the chasing and shooting were going on?
And why did they save Madsen’s father from when his jet crashed into the ocean, but not return him to his family for thirty years? And when he finally was returned, he was the same age and wearing the exact same clothes as on the day when he crashed three decades before! What was all that about?
And then there’s whole self-destruct sequence at Area 51! Somehow, the head bad guy (The X-Files‘ Steven Williams wearing ridiculously spray-painted on white eyebrows, hair and mustache) causes the “core” to be breached or melt down or whatever. What kind of core does Area 51 have? And why can you punch a few buttons to make it blow up?
And then Steve tries to play the old “let me have your daughter or half of Nevada will be destroyed” card! Me and Madsen were pretty much, “so what – we don’t know anybody in Nevada and we’ve got a super powered alien on our side” and then Area 51 blows up anyway!
Completely abominable on an intergalactic scale, if I was The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Robert Vaughn, I’d be more embarrassed by this then by either Zombie 5: The Killing Birds or those commercials he does for law firms that always seem to air during daytime talk shows.
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