1 Stars
Year Released: 1997
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 50 minutes
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A clandestine alien life-force messily kills John Tama (Michæl Sato), a high-placed roguish businessman, assuming his identity as the first step toward intergalactic domination. A hired killer wants out of the killing business after his best friend and partner is fatally shot in the film’s initial gunplay. Things don’t go as planned for either party. Charlie, the reluctant assassin (Norasinh Khane), is ordered to perform a final hit by his boss who doesn’t realize that the target, Tama, has already been dispatched by the aliens and is now a feverish, bubbly-skinned ex-human. Violence ensues.
It’s literally “amateur hour” in this puzzling fusion of low-budget sci-fi and lower-budget Hong Kong style bullet-fest. Director Lau is clearly so enamored with the space-age goo dripping from the alien creatures and the technical challenge of simulating spraying bullets, he fails to notice that his cast of non-actors suffer through their lines without an ounce of emotion or conviction. I don’t blame them really. The dialogue as written is preposterously melodramatic and stilted. Add a handful of dazzling lapses in logic, like when Charlie’s partner delivers his dying speech with a bullet-hole square in the middle of his forehead, and you’ve got yourself quite a problematic script.
Another aspect belying the inexperience of the filmmakers is the editing. Cuts are too long for the rapid style of choreography that is attempted in the film’s violent and kinetic moments and the camera lingers unnecessarily over the film’s more elaborate and gruesome creature effects. Things have improved slightly by the final act. The climax, involving a chase through an apartment building and a last bout of lead-slinging in an underground parking garage is downright cinematic. At this point Lau seems to have figured out how to cut an action sequence. After sitting through the rest of this awkwardly paced film, we are grateful, even as his camera hovers lovingly over the sputtering ruins of the alien antagonist.

Posted on May 24, 2000 in Reviews by

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