Film Review: ‘Occupation: Rainfall’ (2020)

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Stars: Dan Ewing, Temuera Morrison, Daniel Gillies
Director: Luke Sparke
Distributor: Signature Entertainment

“Billions of us died.”

Two years after the events within its predecessor, Occupation, the curiously titled Occupation: Rainfall sees that the remaining humans in Australia continue to endure torment and chaos from invading aliens, but this time, the hero survivors and resistance fighters have a potential edge of their alien aggressors, with a mysterious thing known as “Rainfall”. 

Survivors from the first film, Matt (Dan Ewing) and Amelia (Jet Tranter), are the leaders in pursuit of victory against the alien scum…all whilst having an extraordinarily rubbery-faced alien, Garry (Lawrence Makoare), assist in their quest. Of course, Matt has his reservations, but like any good human, he comes to realise that just because someone is different, that doesn’t make them bad, and eventually accepts Garry as his partner. The search for whatever “Rainfall” is separates Matt and Garry from the rest of the resistance, yet the former pair are subsequently joined by Peter (Temuera Morrison) – another survivor from the first film. 

The expanded group find themselves on their way to a US base at Pine Gap…headed by none other than Ken Jeong’s Bud Miller, who frequents with another rubbery – yet slightly spaced –  alien, Steve (voiced by Jason Isaacs). This ultimate encounter will either lead to the answers behind “Rainfall” or see the complete wipeout of humanity on Earth.

Continuing the action from the first film, Rainfall opens with an overwhelming array of special-effects-driven action – dubbed as being from “the VFX team behind The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049”. Whilst instances of the visual effects are admirable to an extent, yet at a budget of 25 million AUD, to compare Rainfall to any live-action film under the Disney umbrella, would essentially be close to wanting a product on Amazon, but ordering it from Wish instead. That’s the difference. Additionally, much of Rainfall’s opening spectacle of CGI action resembles much too closely to that of a video game, but that is a notion growing ever too frequent. 

Succeeding the opening action sequences, the tremendous trope of “X amount of time earlier” appears on screen, though there is a lack of interest or desire to be presented with what occurred prior to Rainfall’s opening events – and, it’s rather obvious too: more gunfire against aliens. This is a sci-fi film, like many, that relies upon a multitude of familiar tropes. The existence of this familiarity can either go one way or another: audience boredom because it’s recycled, or audience acceptance because it’s familiar and “safe”. Thinking too hard about the science within a sci-fi film can often deviate towards a lower appreciation towards the film itself – hello, Tenet

Rainfall’s biggest issue, perhaps, is that during the course of just over two hours of running time, there is a great and severely undesirable feeling that nothing really happens within the film. Or with great importance, at least. Of course, there are a small handful of  impressive instances with the action, yet when action-action-action is the only substance – and said action isn’t consistently great or increasing with its stakes – the viewer finds themself observing tiresome repetition after repetition.

Existentially, there is an issue too. Rainfall views in the vein that its whole purpose is to establish its sequel. The issue with this, and the “franchise”, essentially, is that there is next to no substance as to why a sequel will be any good or even wanted. The foundation of the next Occupation instalment is weak beyond comprehension. With such a good cast at the disposal of writer-director Luke Sparke, Rainfall is a severe misfire.

Occupation: Rainfall is now available to watch in UK cinemas, and on digital too. Many thanks to Witchfinder and Signature Entertainment for the pleasure of this film.

2 Stars


For John.

This article’s featured image: By Source, Signature Entertainment, Fair Use 

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