Alien Nation

Year: 1988

Production: 20th Century-Fox

Director: Graham Baker

Starring: James Caan, Mandy Patinkin, Terence Stamp

Screenwriter: Rockne S. O'Bannon

Novelization (1988) by Alan Dean Foster

94 minutes; Color

Los Angeles, 1991. The Newcomers, or "Slags", are 300000 humanoid aliens, genetically engineered for hard labor, survivors of a crashland slave ship, grudgingly accepted but disliked by humans, and ghettoized. Working in partnership with a human (Caan), Sam Francisco (Patinkin) becomes the first alien police detective in L.A. There are murders related to the use of alien drugs. A stereotyped buddy-cop story follows (uneasy relationship between races deepens as tolerance is learned). This is an efficient, unambitious adventure film whose observations of racial bigotry towards cultural strangers - effectively "boat people" - are good-humored but seldom rise above cliche. A short-lived tv series (1989-90) followed.

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

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