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Virus (1999)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: John Bruno

Starring:
Jamie Lee Curtis/Kit
William Baldwin/Steve
Donald Sutherland/Everton
Joanna Pacula/Nadia
4 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
An alien life-force takes over a Russian boat and cleans house. An American boat crew in need of refuge from a storm find the Russian ship and embark. Alien life-force + American crew = fun times?
THE LOWDOWN
One word can best describe this flick and that word is "generic". This movie is so generic that it hurts. We’ve seen all of this a thousand times before and unfortunately for us, it’s delivered in a very bland way here. Director John Bruno, who was the effect designer on T2, knows a thing or two about cool robots but the whole concept of tension, suspense and fun action is foreign to him.

Most of the murders are boring or throwaways, the gunplay is uninspired and the chase sequences are lifeless. The film isn’t scary at all (except for the cheap boo scares) and nothing original ever surfaces (they even pull a fake cap-off in the end to give the audience that last jolt…whatever).

The miniature model effects are weak (the boat sometimes looks like it’s floating in my toilet) but I will admit to digging the 'bots big time. The spider robots were cute (lifted off "Runaway"), the Cyborg robots were gnarly (lifted off "Star Trek" or "The Terminator") and the full robots were kind of interesting (giant versions of that “Short Circuit” bugger). If you dig robots, you’re in for a treat.

As for the characters themselves, they range from ridiculous (Sutherland) to boring (Baldwin) to somewhat interesting (Curtis). The only dude that really got me going was Sherman Augustus as Ritchie. His character goes postal and I love it when characters in movies act irrationally; especially when they’re holding a machine gun (Hudson anyone?).

It's all unfortunate because the premise here is actually a good idea. An alien energy takes over a ship's computer, perceives man as a virus and proceeds to eliminate or assimilate him. Sounds like fun to me!

But Virus doesn’t deliver anything fresh and pales in comparison to the classics which it tries to emulate. If they would at least have put some kind of energy behind its execution, it might've been fun, but someone here is asleep at the wheel. I’ve seen “Teletubbies” episodes scarier and more thrilling than this flick. How do I get rid of this virus?
GORE
Some detached human body parts, a fist through the chest and some bloody Cyborgs. Lots of latex here and Karo syrup there…
ACTING
It’s always nice to see Jamie Lee Curtis (Kit) in a horror flick but she could’ve done better than this. She does ok here but her top is never wet enough. William Baldwin (Steve) is a charismatic guy; too bad his part is boring. Donald Sutherland (Everton) makes a fool of himself playing the typical sea dog with an Irish accent that comes and goes like my last date. Joanna Pacula (Nadia) does aight as the “Newt”-like character. Sherman Augustus (Ritchie) has a blast with the role, and I had a blast watching him. Cliff Curtis (Hiko) has nice tattoos. Marshall Bell (Woods) plays the one-dimensional coward very well…zzzz. I was digging Julo Oscar Mechoso (Squeakie) but unfortunately the movie gets rid of him way too soon.
T & A
Euh…naked robots…
DIRECTING
Nothing stands out from Bruno’s directing. It doesn’t have a particular style or vibe. It’s mostly "point and shoot". On the positive end, the shot where they first get to the Russian boat is nice and he makes good use of the impressive sets. Stick to robot building, buddy.
SOUNDTRACK
A score that resembles the one from “Aliens” way too much.
BOTTOM LINE
The robots are cool but nobody’s home. This one doesn’t even try to break out of the generic mold that it’s in. Virus is just a retelling of better movies and instead of forking out your cash for it, you should just re-rent "Aliens", "Terminator" or "Star Trek: First Contact". That’s the cure to this virus…
BULL'S EYE
One deleted scene had “Squeaky” in robot form standing there with someone asking him how he feels. He answers: "Never better." That scene was in the trailer (I was pissed that they cut it out).

This flick is based on the “Dark Horse” comic book of the same name.

Joanna Pacula was way sexier in "The Kiss".
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