Radio Silence has a plot that reads as if it came from the back of half of the VHS boxes at a suburban Blockbuster. A top-secret satellite is shot down by the Russians and a Special Ops team is sent to retrieve its remains from the Mexican desert before the Russians do. But, when the satellite came down, it didn’t come down alone.
After their convoy is ambushed by an unseen attacker with a weapon that vaporizes two of its three vehicles and burns a big hole through one of the survivors, the team is reduced to three members, CSM Bruce Parkman (Frank Powers, American Warfighter, Bloody Benders), SFC Wells (Jack Lutz, Lady Belladonna’s Night Shades, Foster Home Seance) and SSG Carver (Michelle Martinez, Brothers James: Retribution, Beaten).
They take refuge in a small restaurant and along with its owner Paco (Angel Herrera), his niece Carmen (Stephanie Frias, T.O.R.R. Dawn of the Red) her boyfriend Jason (Red Valdez) and all-around asshole Joel (Gonzalo Robles, Army of the Dead, The Immortal Wars: Rebirth). Can they survive long enough to figure out who or what is stalking them and find a way to defeat it?
With so many examples of how to stage this kind of a plot, it’s truly amazing what writer/director Troy Scoughton Sr. managed to accomplish with Radio Silence, he created a film that makes Alien Warfare look good.
Radio Silence is slow, talky, filled with bad effects and worse acting. And at times it’s unbelievably stupid. How stupid? When Carver gets a leg wound she takes off her jacket and body armour to get to a shirt she can use to bind her leg. Does she then put her gear back on? Hell no, she leaves it behind and spends the rest of the film unprotected, wearing only a tank top and very obviously nothing underneath it. They seriously couldn’t have found a more believable way to put some cleavage on the screen?
The stupidity doesn’t end there either. Much of Radio Silence has the heroes barricaded in the restaurant while the alien waits for daylight so it can recharge the rapidly dwindling batteries on its solar powered laser. Since they’re safe inside, the plot needs to keep coming up with reasons for somebody to go outside and get killed.
And just why is there an alien out there?. It seems there was a spaceship near the satellite when the Russians blew it up and it got caught by the blast. Mostly we see it represented by a Predator style computer display. Only this one looks like it was drawn with crayons. The actual creature is on screen for maybe thirty seconds, once as a still frame and once as what looks like green foam rubber hands. At one point they’re looking at security camera footage of it and they keep the monitor off-camera because they didn’t have the budget to actually film the creature.
That worked in Predator because there were plenty of effects representing the creature even if we didn’t see it until the very end. Here apart from its heads-up display and occasional laser blast there’s nothing. Radio Silence is ninety minutes of idiots arguing with each other and occasionally meeting unspectacular deaths. There’s the occasional poorly rendered explosion and a CGI fighter cockpit that is one of the worst effects I’ve seen. It seriously makes the computer-generated creators from those Sci-Fi Channel originals back in the 2000’s look good.
Radio Silence is available to watch on Tubi, but even for free it costs too much in terms of the time it takes to watch it and the brain cells it’ll kill. Is there anything good I can say about it? IMDB listed it as running for two hours, it’s actually only an hour and a half long. And that is a very good thing.