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anonymous kph

A is for "Alien Terminator"

lunargeography decided that she wanted to choose the first movie that I watched for "26 movies in 52 weeks," and she chose two. One to watch if she was around to watch it with me, and one to watch if I needed to watch one and she wasn't around. Sadly, she was around for Alien Terminator.

Five scientists are members of an experimental project. I maybe could tell you what the project is about, but the writers don't waste a lot of exposition time on it since it's just a front for Evil Corporate Nastiness. All that really matters is this: they have been running experiments and whatnot in an underground complex for the past two years. Five miles underground, to be precise. But it's the day before their experiment ends, and they can finally go home.

The problem with this movie (in a general sense) is not just that it's five really annoying stereotypical characters against a nigh-unstoppable menace (and you root for the menace). It's that the five really annoying stereotypical characters are so poorly-written. If there was an award for most cliched dialogue, this film would win it. The most well-done and interesting scene in the film is the one literally ripped off from Alien. Crewmember comes to eat, gets sick, critter bursts from his chest ... I swear, if it's not stolen shot-for-shot, then somebody liberally sprayed the scene with "Essence of Ridley Scott."

Um. Ew.

The basic plot of the film is that one of the scientists (Newton) is in league with the CEO of the corporation that funded their mission. His true mandate is to create some kind of super-soldier serum. He ends up accidentally creating something that is an actual lifeform. It eats its way through a rat and a cat before bursting out of the doctor/scientist (Coach). At this point, Newton sheepishly admits to having accidentally created life. But it's okay, because he made an antidote. All the survivors need to do is catch the creature before it can grow too big, then inject it with the antidote.

I'm sure you can see where this is going. There isn't a real surprise or human moment anywhere in the movie. The creature picks off the scientists. The scientists discover The True Nature Of The Mission. The Evil Corporation cuts off their life support, claiming there was an accident and everyone is dead. They have to try to both kill the critter and escape. Somehow. In the hour before the backup generators die and their air supply goes away. At one point, they take the elevator up to their surface escape tunnel and then back down to the lab area in under a minute. You do the math. Ten miles. Less than sixty seconds. It's not blatant enough to be a Worst Science, it's just bad.

Which kind of summarizes my feelings about the movie as a (w)hole.

The cover claims that this movie is part of the Maria Ford collection. I had never heard of her before. I guess I've seen her in a random gratuitous shower scene now.

It wasn't even a good random gratuitous shower scene.


I do dig the tagline though:
Five scientists. Five miles down. Five minutes to live.

I mean, that's good stuff. Repetition is such a great device. There's the "Ask now what your country can do for you" speech, and then there's Alien Terminator.