Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonAvanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)
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Article updated: 2022.01.13

The The Blackout (2019) is a contemporary fantasy action / thriller film. The movie was reviewed by Kadmon.

Product: Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)

Original title: Аванпост (Avanpost, English: Forward Post / Outpost), English title: The Blackout

Series: -

Setting: future fantasy Earth

Product type: Film, Genre: contemporary fantasy action / thriller, Style: sci-fi, thriller, fantasy, contemporary fantasy, action, aliens, psychic abilities

Release: Premiere: 2019.03.15 (Cinequest, San Jose), Release: 2019.11.21

Reviewer: Kadmon, Type: Male, 40s, Preferences: Immersive, logical story, consistent setting, prefers surprises to spoilers, prefers establishing elements before referencing them

Watched: very recent (2021.01), first time

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points), Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points)

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This is my review of The Blackout, a contemporary fantasy action / thriller movie from 2019. It's about humans trying to stop an alien invasion. The The Blackout film has some interesting action scenes, but I only recommend it to dedicated fans of the genre.

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Review (spoiler-free) - The Blackout, movie (2019)

I was checking Russian sci-fi movies, when I've found this one. The Blackout looked interesting, so I watched it without watching the trailer.

I've watched the 127 minutes International version, but there's a 153 minutes long Russian version, I assume that's considerably different.

The The Blackout movie is about humans trying to stop an alien invasion

The very basics of the plot (alien invasion) are okay. However, the specifics are not very logical, and the more info we get about the alien plans, the worse it gets. Otherwise, if you can get over that, the actual happenings are okay. The consistency is somewhat strange, but as I've read, the international version is a re-cut of the original, so it's hard to judge it. There are no real character arcs. There are logical problems in the basic plot, but the minute details are okay.

The writing could have been better.

The directing and cinematography was good, I think they got the most out of the script. The scenes look good visually, and it shows that they've put effort into making interesting scenes. The special effects are good.

The action scenes were technically fine, but lacking tension, partly due to the lack of interest in the characters. Also, except for the final confrontation they just reacted to attacks, so the action scenes didn't forward their goals (except their aim of survival).

The characters are not well developed, we don't get to know them beyond the basics. The actors are okay.

The music (by Ryan Otter) is good, although not memorable, but it fits the movie.

The Blackout was a wasted opportunity.

The Blackout is a watchable contemporary fantasy action / thriller, that I think fans of the genre might enjoy.

My experience

I was not satisfied with The Blackout (2019). I happen to like stories with well-thought, logical plots, and The Blackout couldn't deliver that.

Rating: Average (2 out of 3 points). The Blackout is a well-made film, with a weak plot.

Enjoyment: Weak (2- out of 3 points). The Blackout has interesting parts, but too many logical problems for me.

Rewatchability: High. I think it's mostly the surprise of the story that makes you feel interested, but if you liked it once, you probably like the action scenes and the visuals, and you'll be able to enjoy that multiple times.

Chance of watching it again: Unlikely. Now that I know the story, there's probably no need to watch it again.

Chance of watching a sequel: Probably.

Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonAvanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)
image © 1-2-3 Production & TNT (Gazprom)

Will you enjoy this?

If you like mystery or thriller movies, you might like The Blackout.

If you like survival horror or action thriller movies (28 Days Later, Aliens), you might like the film, although there are more action scenes than scary scenes in the The Blackout movie.

If you like alien invasion stories (Independence Day), you might like The Blackout.

If you don't mind illogical elements in your movies, you can enjoy this.

If you hate subtitles,

If you prefer visuals over story, you'll still get plenty of great scenes from this movie if you are not interested in the story itself.

If you hate zombie movies, there are some scenes that are reminiscent of zombie movies, so be aware of this.

Watching for plot points

If you are interested in alien invasion stories, I think it's worth watching the The Blackout movie for the plot points, although I have to add that it's not a very clever plot.

Should you watch this on your own screen at home, or is it worth going to the cinema?

The visuals probably look better if you watch it in cinema.

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Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonAvanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)
image © 1-2-3 Production & TNT (Gazprom)

Review with spoilers - The Blackout, movie (2019)

I liked the basics of The Blackout movie, but overall, I didn't find the execution satisfying.

The message of the story was pretty clear - humans are bad, we destroy each other and the Earth -, but it could have been told us in a more subtle way.

I didn't like the ancient alien angle, as it was not very convincing, and it was not really elaborated.

It was like it's a mix of two movies put together. There was a nice and interesting futuristic setting, that actually didn't add anything to the plot. The city skies looked like Coruscant in The Phantom Menace with all those flying drones. We see 3D projected advertisements, portable bio-scanner, scanner allowing the user to see through walls, motion indicator. But then everything that happened around the main story used current day technology, including the military vehicles and weapons, making all those tech irrelevant to the movie.

I think the story would have worked just as well if it was set in modern day.

Cover

The cover of the movie is okay, it doesn't say much, but it doesn't spoil the movie.

The trailer

The trailer is good. It gives us a taste of the movie, but doesn't spoil the plot.

Promise of the first scene

We see soldiers grabbing weapons to meet an unknown enemy. I assume there will be some fighting. But I have no clue where else will this lead.

Execution: It lead to more fighting. But I'm not sure this is the right promise to start the movie with.

Plot summary / Synopsis

Present: Soldiers of an outpost grab weapons and prepare a defensive line to meet an unknown enemy.

One month ago: In a futuristic Moscow a young soldier (Aleksey Chadov as Oleg) is having a dinner with a woman. They continue their night in the bedroom of the soldier.

We see that suddenly there's a power blackout, causing people to fall unconscious all over the world, except for a small area in Russia, later called the Circle of Life. This is later announced by the Russian news.

They send soldiers to a nearby blackout area, lead by an officer (Konstantin Lavronenko as Mayor Dolmatov). They find that everybody died where they fell. Suddenly someone leaps from a tall building, and runs away. The soldiers are unable to catch him. They examine the dead bodies, and they were all poisoned. The scout teams sometimes get attacked by unknown attackers, some teams vanish completely.

The young soldier gets back to the military, where he gets close to an older soldier (Pyotr Fyodorov as Yura). They are sent to an outpost at the border of the Circle of Life. Suddenly, there's an alarm, and we see the first scene repeated.

Present: They are attacked by bears, who break through the defensive line. The young soldier is injured, so he gets taken to Moscow.

(In the original Russian cut, there's a sub-plot involving a mysterious box that is sent with the injured soldier to Moscow. The box gets the attention of the alien, who tries to get it from the soldier, using illusions.)

A a young psychic sensitive (Artyom Markaryan as Sasha) gets a message from an alien (Id), that there's an army of mindless humans, preparing to attack the survivors. However, the alien is able to hold them off.

A scouting mission finds the missing tanks, but they are all destroyed. They find a sign of a massive weapon, that was able to shoot through several blocks of flats.

The young psychic meets the alien, who agrees to answer the questions of their military leader (Kseniya Kutepova as Osmolovskaya). The alien tells that there's an attack coming, and an invasion fleet approaches. The alien asks assistance from the military to find and eliminate the other alien, who controls the horde of human puppet soldiers.

They decide to reclaim the areas outside of the Circle of Life. They send a patrol forward, including the older soldier, who take defensive position in a house. They find a survivor kid in the abandoned city. The kid asks if he is talking to their leader, and when the soldier says yes, the kid stabs him with a knife. Then they get attacked by mind controlled humans. They lose some of the team, so they give up their position, and start to retreat to their home base on foot.

The alien asks the young psychic to draw the location of the enemy alien, then they leave with some soldiers to find and kill the alien. As the enemy alien was able to sense the presence of the psychic, in retaliation, their outpost is destroyed in a missile attack. The convoy meets with the surviving soldiers, including the young soldier and the older soldier, and take them.

As they approach the location of the enemy alien, hordes of mindless soldiers attack them. They are able to reach the enemy alien, who is defeated with the help of the alien. They start to fight among each other, some want to kill the remaining alien, some want to spare him, so he would be able to help them. In the end, the alien is killed.

The invasion ship arrives, lands, and opens its door. The surviving soldiers get on board, and start to kill the sleeping aliens one by one. They find a group of alien kids, whom they spare (either intentionally, or they are out of ammo).

The setting

The story is set in the near future of an alternate Earth, where aliens exist.

Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonAvanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)
image © 1-2-3 Production & TNT (Gazprom)

The aliens

They look like bald humans with a strange face. They have psychic abilities. They are not as aggressive as humans, and don't reproduce as enthusiastically.

They are stronger than humans. They can cut metal with their bare hands, but I assume it's some kind of technology they wear on their hands. They have some kind of protective armour, that can be torn, and then they are just as vulnerable as humans. The armour protects them against regular firearms, but it looks like falling from the top of a tall building is still enough to kill them.

They can control the perception of humans, to change what they sense.

History: The sun of the aliens gone out, so they were searching for a new planet to settle when they've found the Earth. They've sent a small spaceship through hyperspace, to prepare for the invasion fleet that will arrive 200 thousand years later, as those ships can't reach light-speed.

The small spaceship brought two aliens, Id and Ra, who created the humans in their own image (except for the face, which they messed up somehow). They didn't give their psychic abilities to humans, but they've made them aggressive, and made sure they have a strong urge to reproduce.

Ra was afraid of the humans, as they got more aggressive than he wanted, so he came up with the idea of religions based on peace and love, to tame the humans.

When the invasion fleet was nearby, the aliens initiated the Blackout attack, then Ra intended to use the Puppets to kill the survivors. If things go according to plan, the invasion fleet would just land on Earth.

If the Blackout attack was not initiated, the invasion fleet would get alerted, and it would just crush the human resistance, there would be no chance of defeating them.

Blackout attack: They have switched off the electricity and poisoned the humans. It is implied that they made the bodies of the human victims to poison themselves.

There's a small Circle of Life where this didn't happen, because the ray was projected from outside of the Earth's orbit, and Id tampered with the timing of it, so the Moon was covering a part of the Earth at the moment, protecting the people there.

Puppets: After the blackout attack, they use the survivors to kill the rest of the unaffected humans. There's 160 million humans they are using as a mindless army. These puppets retain their former intelligence, but they don't mind getting sacrificed for the alien cause. It's not clear if they are individually controlled, or they just have switched into "anti-human mode", and they look for any way to kill the rest of humanity.

The horde of puppets are controlled by Ra, but if Ra is killed, then Id is able to take over their control.

The aliens are also able to send animals against humans.

Psychics: Some people nearby the limit of the Circle of Life became sensitive to the presence and communication of the aliens.

The Russian army

They have robot dogs.

They have automated sentry guns. The anti-missile defence turrets are probably also automated.

They have some kind of suspension, allowing a soldier to use a machine gun in both hands.

There helmets are able to withstand automatic rifle round impacts without visible effect on the wearer. The leg guards have a similar resistance.

The message of the story

"Humans are bad, we destroy each other and the Earth."

The structure of the story

The beginning of the story has some flashbacks, but then the first scene repeats to place the viewer back to the present, and from then on, it proceeds sequentially.

There is no single viewpoint character.

It has the usual arc of the dramatic structure - introduction, action, resolution.

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Things I liked

  • The action scenes looked good.
  • The soldiers look believable.
  • The military tech looks cool.

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How does it compare to the other works of the creators?

I haven't seen any other film by the writer (Ilya Kulikov). They seem to be be police action stories, and the action scenes were good in this, so they might be also fine.

I haven't seen anything from the directors either (Egor Baranov, Nathalia Hencker), so I can't compare their works.

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Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonAvanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)
image © 1-2-3 Production & TNT (Gazprom)

Analysis of the story - The Blackout, movie (2019)

I liked the movie at first, but the more we got into the background, the less I've found it acceptable. Beyond this basic premise, I didn't find major problems, but I still couldn't really enjoy The Blackout by the end.

Problematic elements

The bear attack: When the outpost has multiple tanks and APCs, it seems questionable why did they just line up their men on the perimeter. They could have just line up the APCs and have the soldiers fire from the inside. It would have prevented a lot of casualties.

The ancient aliens: The aliens look like the humans, because humans were created 200 thousand years ago by the aliens. However, humans look like humans, because we have evolved from primates, that have evolved from mammals. So, in order to make this work, the aliens should have arrived a lot more millions of years earlier.

It is implied that the ancient pyramids were built by the aliens. If this is true, why did they choose such a convoluted way to build it? Either cutting and transporting the stones, or even casting them on site is time consuming, then putting them in place, it takes a lot of effort. I'm not an architect, but I'm pretty sure if we did the pyramids today, we could find a lot more efficient way.

The creators of the movie didn't show us what did the aliens do in the past couple of thousand years to ensure that their plan works. They have set up the world religions and to their dismay, the followers have turned aggressive. However, as they are able to control the minds of people, they could have changed this easily.

The arrival of the spaceship: Opening the doors of the spaceship before waking up seems stupid. The material of the ship is so weak that they can destroy the life support channels with an axe.

The alien kids: The protagonists kill every adult, but they leave a bunch of alien kids alive. I know that they don't need to make logical choices, but this is still pretty stupid. First, subjected to the rule of kids will be probably worse than the rule of adults (just read the "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby). I assume that they are also able to control the minds of humans. But even if they will be only when they are adults, they will still rule the surviving human population in a couple of years. Also, I wonder how will the kids react when they will learn that the humans killed all of their parents.

Unanswered questions

  • What did the scout aliens (Id and Ra) do in the past 200 thousand years to forward their plans?
  • If the aliens made the humans to be their own weapons against the inhabitants of the Earth, why did they kill the majority of them in the beginning?
  • Are the aliens able to control any mind? They can clearly control humans, but are they able to control animals? The bear attack implies this, but then why don't they use this with any other animals?
  • Why did the aliens make their hibernating capsules in such a weak material?
  • What were the aliens planning about their arrival? What would happened if both of their scouts would have been lost? They seemed to need the scouts to start the waking sequence.

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Possibilities of improvement

 

How it could have been better?

 

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Behind the scenes

Originally it was 300 minutes long, as they wanted to do the story as a series. Then a 153 minutes long Russian movie version was made, then a 127 minutes long International movie version.

Thoughts about the reviews of others

 

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Avanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019) - Film review by KadmonAvanpost / The Blackout, movie (2019)
image © 1-2-3 Production & TNT (Gazprom)

Uses for the film - The Blackout, movie (2019)

Plot

  • Alien invasion is set up by alien scouts sent to the planet to prepare the arrival of the alien fleet.
  • Aliens change the evolution of the native creatures to fit their needs.
  • Characters that can control the minds of others, can read their thoughts, change their perception.
  • Mind controlled mobs try to reach the goals of their masters.

Scenes

  • The urban scenes set in the past are a good way to depict to near future stories.
  • The urban scenes set in the present are also good for cyberpunk.
  • The battle scenes are good to show how mind controlled mobs / tool using zombies attack. I especially liked the suicide bombers jumping from the roof.

Designs

  • The vehicles looked good.

Scenarios - Role-playing game

  • The characters have to hold their position against waves of mind controlled hordes of low skilled combatants with inferior weapons, if any. They have to hold out until every member of the horde is killed.
  • To stop some catastrophe, the characters need to reach the mastermind that hides in a fortified place, surrounded by mind controlled guards. The guards do not have any desire for self preservation. Depending on the personality and goals of the mastermind, when the characters finally reach it, they might need to defeat it in a boss fight, but they may even negotiate their success.

Scenarios - Wargame

Horde attack: The attackers are low skilled, but they have plenty of weapons are hardly able to use. The defender sets up the playing area, including a defensible building in the middle. Then the defender deploys a small number of defender models anywhere on the playing area. Then the attacker deploys their forces on any of the edges (for about twice as many army points as the defender has). If the attacker doesn't have enough models, the attackers can come in multiple waves, and when a model is killed, another one can enter from the edge. The attackers have inferior weapons, some of them only carries melee weapons. They have low ranged attack and close combat skills. The defender wins if they defeat the attackers. The attacker wins if they defeat the defenders. It's a draw if the attacker escapes with more than half of their units from the playing area.

Access to armoury (harder for the defender): The attackers have weapons similar to the defenders, some of them can have heavy weapons.

Fanatics (harder for the defender): The attackers are fanatics (brainwashed, mind controlled), so they don't have to test for Morale.

Exit point (harder for the defender): There's a single exit point that the defender player has to indicate on the edge of the playing area before the game begins. The defender models can only escape the playing area at the exit point.

Extraction (easier for the defender): The defender can assign an extraction point any time during the game. 10 turns later, an extraction opportunity will happen (vehicle arrives, teleport opens, dragon lands) if the area is free of enemy models. Any defender models in the area can escape through this. The defender can cancel the extraction, and assign a new extraction point, but then they have to wait another 10 turn to make this happen. The extraction can be used only once, any remaining defender models have to leave on foot.

Assaulting the horde: The attackers try to kill the leader of the horde, while it's guarded by a small team of soldiers. The defender sets up the playing area, including a defensible position in the middle. Then the defender deploys half of their force and the leader anywhere on the playing area. The rest of the defender force, including any vehicles or heavy weapons, is in reserve. Then the attackers deploy their force one the edges of the playing area. The attacker force is made up of half the army points the defender has. The defenders have low ranged attack and close combat skills, and carry have weapons, some of them only carries melee weapons. The leader is as skilled as a veteran soldier, and has the best weapons. At the beginning of every turn after the first, roll a d6. On a 1, roll a d6 for every reserve squads up to 10 models, and for the vehicles. On a 1, that squad or vehicle enters the playing area on any of the edges. When the leader of the defenders is killed, the whole horde gives themselves up. The attacker wins if they kill the leader of the defenders, while more than half of their own units survive. The defender wins if they kill the attackers. It's a draw if the leader is killed, but more than half of the attackers are lost.

Access to armoury (harder for the defender): The attackers have weapons similar to the defenders, some of them can have heavy weapons.

Fanatics (harder for the defender): The attackers are fanatics (brainwashed, mind controlled), so they don't have to test for Morale.

Miniatures - 1/50-1/60 (28-32mm scale)

Human soldiers: Human-sized futuristic soldiers in full armour.

Aliens: Human-sized humanoids in trench coat, with a strange face.

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Similar stories - The Blackout, movie (2019)

Movies

Occupation (2018): Aliens destroy most of the Earth. Humans try to defeat them.

Prityazhenie - Attraction (2017): An alien spaceship crashes into a Russian city, causing some problems.

Skyline (2010): Aliens destroy most of the Earth, and enslave the survivors. Humans try to survive.

TV series

Falling Skies (2011-2015): Aliens destroy most of the Earth, and enslave the survivors. Soldier fight them to stop he invasion. Other aliens help then in their cause.

Computer games

Doom 2: Hell on Earth (1994): Aliens destroy most of the Earth. A soldier has to find and defeat their leader to stop he invasion.

Duke Nukem 3D (1996): Aliens destroy most of the Earth. A soldier has to find and defeat their leader to stop he invasion.

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Frequently asked questions - The Blackout, movie (2019)

Will the The Blackout movie be available with English audio dub?

The Blackout is already available with English audio dub.

Is the The Blackout film based on a book or comics?

No, The Blackout is not based on either books or comics.

Is the The Blackout film a remake or reboot?

No, the The Blackout film is neither a remake nor a reboot.

Is there a post credit scene in The Blackout? Does The Blackout have end credit scenes?

No, there's no post credit scene in The Blackout.

Where can I see The Blackout? Where can I watch The Blackout online? Is The Blackout available on Netflix? Is The Blackout on Amazon?

As of 2022.01.12, the International version of The Blackout is available on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Hoopla, Microsoft Movies, Vudu, YouTube.

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Resources - The Blackout, movie (2019)

Official

TV3: The Blackout (in Russian): Official article in Russian.

Information

IMDB: Avanpost / The Blackout (2019): Database article.

WikiPedia: The Blackout (2019 film): Database article.

Letterboxd: The Blackout 2019: Database article.

Rotten Tomatoes: The Blackout 2019: Database article.

Creation

: Concept art article.¤

 

https://koly.artstation.com/projects/18Yw1e?album_id=101922

Reviews with no spoilers - The Blackout film (2019)

: Review video about the The Blackout film with no spoilers.¤

Reviews with spoilers - The Blackout film (2019)

: Review article of the The Blackout movie, with spoilers. Includes a very detailed plot summary.¤

Analysis - The Blackout movie (2019)

: Analysis video, explaining the finale of The Blackout.¤

 

https://www.moriareviews.com/sciencefiction/blackout-2019.htm

https://theunheardnerd.com/review-the-blackout-invasion-earth/

https://cinemaparadiso.hu/filmek/avanpost-the-blackout-kritika/

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Buying the product - The Blackout, movie (2019)

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Have you seen the The Blackout film? How do you like the movie? Would you recommend it to others? Do you know reviews or resources you'd like to add? What further thoughts do you have about it? Tell your opinion in the comments!

 

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