Based on a Russian graphic novel of the same name by Vladimir
Nesterenko, Alien Girl exudes a wearying recombinant raison d’être. (Even its title, strangely enough, is a reference to Ridley Scott’s classic thriller,
shorthand for the dangerous, vixen-ish woman at its center.) It’s as if all the parts of a couple dozen American crime thrillers (and maybe some early Luc Besson as well) were distilled through a heavy sociocultural filter, reconstituted, and then aped in middling fashion.
The story unfolds in the Ukraine, amidst a violent clash between two rival gangs. Both have a vested interest in a woman named Angela (Natalia Romanycheva), the sister of a gang member who may or may not be about to cut a deal with the police. In order to exert influence over him before he testifies, his boss dispatches a quartet of his best hit men, who set off on a trip to Prague to find Angela and bring her back to the Ukraine. What starts off as a war between rival gang members and all those standing in their way soon becomes a game of manipulation, seduction and betrayal in which Angela cannily plays each member off against one other.
The film, unrated but certainly comparable to a “R,” exudes a certain crassness and openly revealed drama almost from that start (its thugs have names like Booger, Kid and Whiz). In his feature debut, director Anton Bormatov seems to be doing little more than paying eager homage to all sorts of C-grade American mafioso and underworld tales. Parts of the story hint at some sort of deeper or more interesting social commentary (the hit men stand out as sore-thumb cultural invaders in Prague, and detest the city), but the narrative seems arrested in inchoate form, and more invested in shouting and gun-waving than anything else. The eventual deeper revelations of Angela’s connection to the crime boss, and why she ran, don’t hold much emotional sway, unfortunately; this Alien doesn’t speak a universal language. (Paladin, unrated, 100 minutes)