Today’s Around the World with Netflix offering demonstrates that South Africans are just as capable of wasting money and effects on a sci fi comedy with barely a laugh in it.
And the phrase “lost in translation” isn’t limited to projects translated from another tongue. “Office Invasion” is an English-language romp that wouldn’t romp in any language.
An opening scene sets us up for a sci-fi “aliens invade and slaughter” action farce as a guard at this AMI mining corporation facility is lured through the fog of the company’s zolconoid depository — that’s a magical mineral, like vibranium or unobtanium — by a sexy Russian (Aimee Ntuli) in leather lingerie, and promptly killed and devoured.
“You know vot de call me beck on my plenet? ‘De Devourer.’ Sometink like dat.”
The movie then takes us back to “one month earlier,” and proceeds to bore the living crap out of viewers whilst we await the return of “De Devourer” and her comrades so that they can commence the “invasion” and “de devouring.”
An hour of backstory sets up the company’s inept, inherited ownership, ill-treated and unmotivated employees, its “foreign” takeover and the decision by a geologist (Rea Rangaka) who needs the health insurance the new owners take away, a lazy trust fund accountant (Kiroshan Raidoo) about to be cut off from his inheritance and a hapless security guard (Sechaba Ramphele) who just wants to be able to afford to kick out his white co-playing roomies to rob the place.
By the time they’ve bought ridiculous masks and accessed a clapped-out VW Beetle for the caper, we’ve practically forgotten the aliens who (Ntuli, Greg Viljoen and Stevel Marc) who have taken the joint over with for the mineral, but who eat humans in a pinch.
Game on? Not hardly.
Bodily function jokes and exploding bodies, alien “powers” gags, cos-playing nonsense and the only funny ting in de whole movie is de alien (Marc) who decided a Jamaican accent was de right way to go to “blend in,” mon.
Rating: TV-MA, violence, sexual situations and bodily function jokes, profanity
Cast: Rea Rangaka, Kiroshan Raidoo, Sechaba Ramphele, Aimee Ntuli, Greg Viljoen and Stevel Marc
Credits: Directed by Gareth Croker and Fred Wolmarans and Gareth Crocker. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:51