No One Lives Forever (2012) – By Philip Smolen

Petra (Anna Landreth) is a happily married young woman who runs a local dance studio. She’s excited about her recent marriage to a police detective (Roman Limonta) and the fact that her policeman father (Warren Bub) will be retiring in a month. But suddenly Petra’s body is invaded by an alien named Alona who comes from a species known as the Magnate. Specifically, Alona is from a Magnate hierarchy called the Iron Maidens. She’s an elite Theta One. Alona has fled to Earth to escape the death, destruction and massacres on her home world. But the Magnate is not happy to lose one of their finest warriors. So they send bounty hunters to track and return Alona. Now Petra finds herself fighting aliens in human form while her bewildered husband and father try to keep her safe.

“No One Lives Forever” is an hour long feature film from writer/director Joseph Villapaz who also directed the film “Love Eterne” (2012). Shot on a shoestring budget, it has a good premise and benefits from some fine location footage shot in New York City. Its themes are also somewhat reminiscent of sci-fi films from major studios including “Terminator 2” (1991), “Peacemaker” (1990), “Aliens vs. Predator” (2004) and the “Demon with a Glass Hand” episode from the old “Outer Limits” TV series.

However, the film falters in its execution. Its plot is ambitious and dense, and I needed to watch it several times to understand the main themes. But it also raises many unanswered questions such as if the aliens have a physical presence, why do they need to inhabit a human being? Why not just walk among us?

Another major problem with the film is that it features only two types of scenes. Characters either fight each other (some of the fight scenes are cool) or stand still and talk out plot points. When they stop to talk, the film grinds to a complete halt. Villapaz fails to use any type of stage business during these scenes which would give them a more naturalistic rhythm. Too much of the film feels artificial.

There are also some technical issues. The use of music is inconsistent and ineffective. While the beginning and end credit sequences feature music, a portion of the film does not. This is disappointing because music in these scenes would really enhance the film’s dramatics. There are also some scenes where the sound is very garbled and should have been cleaned up in post production.

None of the actors really distinguish themselves with the exception of Warren Bub as Petra’s father. Anna Landreth’s performance is disappointing. She needs to be more emotional and dynamic for someone who’s being controlled by an alien.

From this movie it’s clear that Villazpaz is still growing as a filmmaker. I hope his technical skills continue to grow to match his vision. “No One Lives Forever” is full of good ideas that have not been properly transferred to film. Still, I laud Villapaz for putting together such an adventurous sci-fi film project on such a miniscule budget. He will be an exciting filmmaker to watch as he continues to hone and develop his talents.

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