Looking through Charlie Sheen’s filmography for a decent film post-1986 is like listening to endless hours of space noise hoping to hear a message from space. Which is what plastic astronomer Zane does for a living in 1996’s “The Arrival,” an ‘alien invasion’ genre film overshadowed at the box office by the frankly more entertaining “Independence Day” the same year. One night Zane hears that elusive message from space, and thereafter stumbles into a shadow conspiracy of terra-forming aliens hiding among us a-la 1988 schlock sci-fi “They Live.” Beyond the completely unnecessary and hilarious “the aliens’ knees bend backwards like horselegs” gimmick, there’s really not much more to say about this film aside from “it’s quite shit.” Not sure whether Sheen felt the facial hair would make him look more mysterious, more serious, or more nerdy.
Upon watching this I thought “This must be where Sheen’s movie career fell off the cliff” but in fact this film is the broken long-dead body lying at the foot of that cliff: the fall was a long time prior. This film came after such pivotal items as “Major League II,” “Hot Shots! Part Deux,” “Loaded Weapon 1,” and “Men At Work.” Half-decent films like “Young Guns” and better films like “Wall Street” are also already in the rearview mirror. Which is hard to understand because, only ten years before, Sheen had made a real name for himself in the incredible “Platoon.” Oh well. Winning, or something, I guess.
I can’t wait to check out the Sheen-less straight-to-video sequel. It’s waiting for me on my DVR.