STARRING: Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell, Julio Oscar Mechoso, Sherman Augustus, Cliff Curtis

1999, 96 Minutes, Directed by: John Bruno

A tugboat crew whose composition is Politically Correct (there's a Maori, a woman, a Canadian and one of the innumerable Baldwin brothers) comes across a deserted ship after surviving a tornado. Well, obviously the ship isn't completely deserted. There's one surviving crew member (Russian, woman) and an alien life form (electronic in nature, freshly downloaded from the Mir space station, sees humanity as a virus which must be eradicated - pretty much like the machines in The Matrix did).

So cue politically correct crew being chased around in the darkened innards of said ghost ship by a variety of robotic units that range from metal spidery creatures (as seen in Runaway) to cyborg/humanoid types (a mixture between Star Trek - First Contact's the Borg and Robocop). 

Also cue the usual clichés: those beams of flashlights that Spielberg pioneered in movies like E.T. which The X-Files later borrowed from heavily in the dark; a crewmember who goes nuts like the Bill Paxton character in Aliens; the characters shout at each other the whole time; the crewmembers getting picked off one by one as they wander around aimlessly like all those witless teenagers in the Friday the 13th movies. In the end everything gets blown up real good with alien still aboard, like in Alien, and with the woman crewmember surviving like in, er, Alien.

Did I spoil it for you? I'm sorry, but I thought that with Jamie Lee Curtis being said crewmember this was pretty much a foregone conclusion - especially since she's done this sort of thing in the original Halloween movie . . .

There isn't an original bone in this movie's body. We've seen this countless times and Virus adheres rigidly and brainlessly to the whole formula. There are no surprises and nothing redemptive in the movie at all: no one-liners, no topless shower scenes featuring Jamie Lee Curtis (or Joanna Pacula, a better bet actually), no sense of irony or fun, no excitement, no likeable characters, or anything! Nothing! The robotic special effects are okay and that's it.

Why tell a tale - especially so unimaginatively - which has been told so many times? Avarice? Obviously, but in the same week I saw Virus I also Ravenous, a black-humored horror movie about cannibalism that unfortunately also sank at the box office without a trace. However, unlike Virus, Ravenous despite its faults at least tried to do something original and mostly succeeded at it. If you believe that the horror movie genre has more to offer than Alien clones then I'd recommend that you watch Ravenous instead. 

A friend of mine summed up Virus in one word: rip-off. However, the problem isn't that it is a rip-off, the problem is that it is a dull rip-off . . . 



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).