Review: ATTRACTION (2017)

Fedor Bondarchuk has made quite the name for himself in Russian cinema. First as an actor, then as the director of films like DARK PLANET and the first Russian IMAX film, STALINGRAD. Now he’s back with ATTRACTION, another large scale, large format film. This time, the plot involves a crashed spaceship and an interstellar romance.

An alien craft is forced into Earth’s atmosphere after suffering damage from a meteor strike. It’s intercepted and shot down by the Russian military with the disastrous result of it crashing into, and destroying, a large chunk of Moscow. Yulia (Irina Starshenbaum, Attraction 2: Invasion) and her boyfriend Tyoma (Alexander Petrov) survive, but her best friend Sveta was killed. Yulia blames herself for this and with the help of some of Tyoma’s gang connections plans on sneaking past the military barriers and exacting some revenge.

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Needless to say, things don’t go as planned. They get past the barricades and manage to avoid the patrols commanded by Colonel Lebedev (Oleg Menshikov) who happens to be Yulia’s father. But then things go wrong and Yulia ends up being rescued by Hijken (Rinal Mukhametov, Coma), one of the ship’s crew who managed to get himself separated from the rest.

ATTRACTION has some great effects, and they get the film off to a rousing start. The shots of it in space and then plowing through the city are excellent. The film somewhat undercuts them with the ridiculously low casualty figures it gives later in the film, though. Most of the film though plays out on the ground and in the aftermath of the crash and without major effects.

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The obvious point of reference here would seem to be John Carpenter’s STARMAN. But the triangle between the three leads feels more like ROMEO AND JULIET, or in its cringier moments, TWILIGHT. And that will play well with its intended audience, even if some of us had preferred something a bit more mature.

Beyond the love story, there’s the usual-armed mob out to get the aliens. A race against time to get their ship operational and off Earth before a self-destruct mechanism kicks in, etc. There’s not a lot we haven’t seen before in ATTRACTION. But it’s well enough done and quite enjoyable, if a bit long at 132 minutes. To kill an entire afternoon, make it a double feature with another of the year’s alien imports, OCCUPATION.

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Dark Sky Pictures was kind enough to hook me up with a Blu-ray copy of ATTRACTION, which surprisingly made it through the backlog from the postal strike. It has some behind the scenes features, including a look at the effects. You also get the option of a dubbed or subtitled version of the film.

ATTRACTION is available now on VOD and DVD/Blu-ray from Dark Sky Pictures.

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