[Review] Occupation: Rainfall (2022) High Octane Invasion Sequel Fires a Lot of Ammo and Scores Some Hits

I come to the Saban produced alien invasion film Occupation: Rainfall a bit flat footed, not having seen his 2018 series origin Occupation, which appears to establish the characters and circumstances by which  the Australian capital of Sydney finds itself under a punishing invasion by a hostile race of aliens referred to as Greys.  Two years into the war now, our cast is in a desperate position, facing the relentless onslaught of a technologically superior enemy that decidedly has the upper hand.  

Writer/director Luke Sparke returns to the world of Occupation with the story already moving at a fast clip.  Among the resistance fighters, there is plenty of drama to be had, as a schism of ideological differences become apparent, and Amelia Chambers (Jet Tranter, Thor: Ragnarok) begins to uncover a genocidal plot to end the war at the expense of all alien lives, including those who have voluntarily joined the resistance, such as Gary the Alien (Lawrence Makoare, Lord of The Rings) who finds himself demonstrating his valor as a soldier under duress of the bigoted Matt Simmons (Dan Ewing, Power Rangers) who is a no nonsense soldier himself with an axe to grind with the Greys.  Among the different character arcs, this was my favorite.

At its core, this movie is an action romp with a solid ensemble cast largely returning from the first film.  The performances do possess a chemistry that’s evident and welcome in a film that leans so heavily into video game style action sequences. Temuera Morrison (Book of Boba Fett) plays well as a contemporary homesteader who, among other things, is dragged into an attempted lynching of a Grey.  In a film that relies on strong, limited performance, he brought some gravitas the film needed.  The villainous Wing Commander Hayes (Daniel Gillies, The Originals) whose pro-human fervor exposes the dark side of war, effectively unveils the evil of bigotry and the inhumanity of genocide.  Also notable is the character of Bud Miller (Ken Jeong, Hangover) the last remaining representative of the now fallen American Government.  His presence is intended to provide some comic relief, but I’m still on the fence on the matter.  He had some moments that had me laughing out loud, but other moments had me cringing.  Overall, his presence (and the tone he brought) was inconsistent with the vibe of the film, but I enjoyed see him, and he is pivotal to solving the mystery of the titular Rainfall, but how that’s unveiled and what it exactly means best left vague.

If my description seems a bit scattered, I contend that this is because the film comes fast and furious, with an emphasis on large scale action scenes that are executed in a way that will be very appealing to the right audience, but offers a pace that will leave those more interested in a focus on character and story development left out.  By the time the credits rolled, I found myself still sorting out what I’d seen.  The story’s scale is grand, but it hits most of it’s plot points.  It’s a well shot and performed film, and the visual effects are largely effective.   The music is very well orchestrated and arranged, letting us know when certain emotional beats were being hit, however its relentlessness comes at the cost of deep and resonant contact with the story of the characters involved, or the messages being relayed amidst the action.   There lies the crux.  For those who prefer character studies, you won’t find that here, but for those who love a roller coaster that propels a movie experience along without taking the time to linger on any specific beats, I think this is one you’ll enjoy.  It isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but for audiences in 2022, it should deliver for fans of of the first film and lovers of action sci-fi both. 

3 of 5 stars.  

  • Shawn Parks - Occupation: Rainfall
Shawn Parks