STARRING: Ben Kingsley, Michael Madsen, Alfred Molina, Forest Whitaker, Marg Helgenberger, Natasha Henstridge, Michelle Williams

1995, 105 Minutes, Directed by: Roger Donaldson

This movie is, to be honest, an Alien clone. Even the monster is based on a design by HR Giger, the Swiss artist who did the monster for the Alien movies! (I like his stuff by the way - Dali and Magritte with a bad attitude!)

Plot (briefly): We finally got a reply to all those messages we have been sending to outer space with powerful transmitters. The reply is first a revolutionary way to synthetically produce some or the other amino acid (I forgot: minor detail). The other reply is instructions how to mix alien DNA structure coding with that of a human.

Which some scientists do: they mix alien DNA with that of a human, in this case, a test tube baby, etc. They decide that the new "specie" should be a woman. That would make her more docile and controllable the scientists argue. "You don't go out much, do you?" is the laconic reply of the cool CIA (or something) guy called in to track and kill the alien when it escapes from the labs. (Michael Madsen, perhaps best remembered as the sadistic dude in Reservoir Dogs who cut off the policeman's ear!)

What makes the movie slightly different is that the alien escaped when they tried to kill it (because they were afraid that they didn't know what they were dealing with, etc.) The alien is also a very sexy blonde girl (played by model Natasha Henstridge) who is totally out of tune with society because she was, after all, "raised" in a lab. In one scene she buys a wedding dress to wear with a stolen credit card for the simple reason that she thinks it is beautiful. But she isn't dumb, catches on quickly and manages to elude the team out to hunt and kill her. Also, she gets the idea that to procreate is the proper thing to do.

So there's this really sexual tension to the movie as she picks up guys in bars and nightclubs to mate with. When she senses that they aren't adequate, she kills them instead. One guy she kills instead of mates with because he is a diabetic and obviously we don't want diabetic alien monsters to take over the world. (Interesting plot for a spoof actually - a bunch of alien invaders who have to shoot up insulin occasionally. Humanity finally kills them off by forcing them to watch endless screenings of Annie ...)

Of course, because of the mixed DNA structuring she changes into a vicious "alien" monster when she gets pissed off. This puts picking up girls in bars into a new perspective if you ask me. Story consists of the team tracking her down and coming across the bloodied remains of victims. Final climax (heh-heh: pun intended) when she screws (in more way than one) a particularly horny member of the task team (she bluffed them into thinking she was dead by faking a car accident after a car chase) - a physicist by the way. And they chase her through a hotel and finally down dark sewers and caves. Story is set in LA (obviously).

No major shakes here: the alien not only looks like the one in the Alien movies, but moves like it as well - too fast to fully glimpse, etc. Nice touch is the (truly) sexy girl only wanting to do what most conservative politicians want women to do - live and have babies! Sort of twisted family values for the 'Nineties if you ask me . . .

The chief scientist is played by Ben (Gandhi) Kingsley who probably needed the money . . .

Interesting thought: in the 1980s and 1990s, sex meant death in most horror movies. Remember all those slasher movies in which teenage couples sneaked off to make out and then got hacked to death by the psycho killer instead? This movie is very explicit in that - pick up a beautiful girl at a bar for a night of carnal pleasure and you just might end up dead! Obsession with AIDS? Cautionary tales? Return to family values? Back to basics? Or perhaps something more primal - Jim Morrison likened sex to death and maybe he's got a point . . .



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