Alien Hunter (2003)
Director: Ron Krauss
An alien craft is found lodged under ice in the depths of the South Pole and it’s up to ex-SETI cryptologist Julian (Spader) and a group of scientists to figure out if this “E.T.” wants to phone home or rumble with the locals.
By rule of thumb, I hate cover songs or sampling. There’s nothing more grating than hearing my favorite tune butchered by some “one hit wonder” for his own 2 minutes of fame gain (you hear that Puff Daddy!) Well, I had a similar feeling while watching “Alien Hunter”, which basically lifted narrative points and conventions off better movies, "scotch-taped” them together and called it a flick.
Let's see, we get the setting of “The Thing”, the monster on the loose device from “Alien”, the message from “Contact”, the government angle from “The X-Files”, a third act that screams “Outbreak” and the last few frames that smelled like “Cocoon”. Creativity and originality were definitely NOT part of this one's shopping list. Having said that, I will admit to being semi-engaged throughout this sea of clichés with the whole moving at an even pace and just being an overall breeze to sit through. I also appreciated the decent special effects on display, for a flick with an obviously low budget to play with...it all looked pretty damn snazzy. Lastly, the casting was fairly bang-on, with the always likeable James Spader owning once more as James Spader and enough hot babes in flimsy outfits to wet one’s appetite for Sushi.
On the mucho downside, the flick sadly never went far enough with its unoriginal yet potentially exciting elements to fully satisfy my sci-fi/horror cravings. For a flick called “Alien Hunter”, there’s wasn’t much hunting or aliens in it, for that matter. Once the outer space bugger was FINALLY set loose, we got like 5 minutes of hunting in dark corridors but even that was nipped in the bud faster than you can say “eat me”. Bummer! All that build up for what again? The characters found here were also far from memorable: bobbing boobs (nothing wrong with that) or overacting (pipe down John Lynch) stood in for characterization. Actually, the slick indoor cornfield setting was more interesting than all of the players found in this zoo. Who knew that corn could have more presence than actual people?
So all in all, “Alien Hunter” was like eating a Whopper in a foreign country. You have set expectations, you think you know what you’re in for, but once you take a bite, it actually manages to be less tasty than what it should’ve been. But it must be said that any flick that manages to slap ladies in bathing suits within its narrative when the story takes place in an underground compound in the South Pole deserves some respect (I said some). Are you gonna hit this sub-par, deja-vu Happy Meal? It’s up to you!
There was nothing truly stand-out here. We get some gunshot wounds, a fork stabbing, a decent looking alien and decomposing peeps.
James Spader (Julian) needed a paycheck so he played the same part that he tackled in "Stargate" and cashed in like a man. Still love the guy though. Janine Eser (Kate) was hot...not much more to say than that. Leslie Stefanson (Nyla) was hotter. John Lynch (Michael) ran as far as he could with his one dimensional part-- but ran a bit too far with it for my liking. EASY MAN!
T & A
We get a couple of hot gals in tiny bathing suits. Why were there chicks in bathing suits in an underground compound in the South Pole you may ask? Who cares!
Krauss delivered this product in a fairly by-the-numbers fashion. Sure, he managed to convey a groovy dark atmosphere at times and I dug the kool quick cut flashes he tossed in there, but overall, this one had "pedestrian" written all over it.
We get a serviceable score that got the job done and a couple of pop/rock background tunes. Again…ROUTINE.
I know that films are often derivative of one another, but “Alien Hunter” brought that jive to an all-new low by, not only tossing in there every single sci-fi convention in the book, but proceeding to half ass all of them to boot. But since the pace was swift and I’m a sucker for anything that has “aliens” and dames in bathing suits in it, I was never bored while sitting through it all. If you’ve got 90 minutes to kill before going to watch a REAL movie, hit it, but mark my words...the only thing this paper cut-out is hunting are clichés.
This flick was shot in Bulgaria and yes...it was shot for cable TV.
Olympian runner Carl Lewis has a role in this movie. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know either.