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On the Lunar Base 4 Correctional Facility, convict Adrian Dunn (Billy Drago) gets into an altercation with another prisoner over a cigarette. After Dunn kills him something bursts from the corpse's face, landing in a wound in Dunn's arm and apparently causing his deaht. The body is shipped back to his hometown of Boston for an autopsy. En route Dunn revives, breaks out of the spaceport, and wanders the city raping women at random and infecting them with a virus thatg causes the infected to breathe out methane. Black Shield cop Cameron Grayson (Roddy Piper) takes the case of tracking down Dunn, eventually leading to the discovery that the virus was bio-engineered by aliens to terraform our world into a suitable habitat for them. Grayson must stop both Dunn and the virus before the entire planet becomes the enw home for a domineering alien race.
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This film is for anyone who likes futuristic adventures like "Screamers", "Blade Runner," or "RoboCop". It has some of the best visual effects in a film with the backgrounds and the fight scenes. Although you can see where they dubbed some of the foul language in the establishing scenes, it is a good film for the cult film arcives.
The good guys are Detective Cameron Grayson (former wrestling champion "Rowdy" Roddy Piper) and Doctor Kirbie Younger (Jayne Heitmeyer,) a virologist assigned to the case. Piper, known for his wild antics and Scottish trappings in the ring is actually quite good in the film. Drago has fallen a few notches down the career ladder since his ultimately convincing performance as Frank Nitti in "The Untouchables," but he is still ultra-creepy here. The rest of the cast, and particularly Heitmeyer, are not up to the standards of Piper and Drago. The other problem is that the film is very plodding in places, and suffers from a worse than normal batch of plot contrivances that take forever to unfold and are wholly unbelievable. The worst example of this is in Grayson's past. We know that Grayson wears a wedding ring, but seems single; we also know that he is obsessed with Dunn. It's obvious that something is lurking there. At about 75 minutes into the picture we finally get the backstory we need: Grayson and Dunn were police academy graduates and best friends. Grayson then went off and married Dunn's ex-girlfriend, Katie, with whom Dunn was still obsessed. Two days after their wedding Dunn killed Katie while Grayson was at work. Oh, and did I mention that Dr. Younger looks like Katie, complicating the manhunt when the movie gets around to it.
After chasing Drago around the darkened streets of Boston, the film comes to a close in a warehouse with Grayson, Dunn, and Younger all doing their predictable parts. Dunn keeps calling Younger "Katie" and over-emoting in general as he attempts to have his way with her. Of course Grayson intervenes, and a three-way brawl erupts in, on, and around the warehouse, using heavy munitions and a forklift in exciting ways. Grayson wants to shoot Dunn, but Younger says that he'll explode due to all the methane he's holding inside him, so Younger ends up solving the problem in a more enlightened way. I was personally hoping that Grayson would simply pin Dunn with his signature figure four leglock after an inverted atomic drop! There is obvious chemistry between Grayson and Younger, but I have to give the filmmakers kudos for making the romance angle work out differently than expected. What I don't give them kudos for was Younger's outfit at the end of the movie: she's going to accept a prestigious job as the head of virology at the biggest institute in the country and she's wearing a ridiculous outfit consisting of a bulky pink turtleneck and a miniskirt. What? What temperature is it supposed to be? How old is she supposed to be?
I debated on the rating for this film, finally settling on two stars. Some of the acting is better than expected from Canadian films of this budget and genre (especially from Piper,) but some other the performances were pretty off key as well. The script was generally predictable, and I never need to hear Billy Drago say "Katie" ever again. Sets and locations were generally good, but the action scenes were tepid (although Piper on the scaffolding was tense.) The entire vision of the future was not dissimilar from many other (better) post-apocalyptic movies, but I have to wonder for a film made in 1996, why did the filmmakers only pick a future thirteen years ahead, knowing full well that it would be quickly obsolete? In the end I considered how entertaining was the film for its genre. Despite the relatively strong lead actors, the film was slow, burdened with unnecessary and distracting plot elements (the Econight, for instance,) middling effects and action sequences, and ultimately was not that absorbing of a story. Two stars for Piper and Drago. The rest smells like methane.
What a stupid name for a movie! We just had to try this one out.
Unfortunately for us this movie wasn't all that bad. The beginning was very weird, though. Prisoners are placed on the moon in a Lunar prison. The movie shows two prisoners standing at a table with power tools--apparently prisoners do labor of some sort--when suddenly they start attacking each other with saws. Prisoner A--Adriann Dunn (why does he have a girl's name?) kills prisoner B and then tries to make it look like an accident. Then, for some stupid, unknown reason he takes a screwdriver and stabs himself in the arm. But oh, apparently prisoner B isn't dead yet and some weird tentacle thing springs out and attacks Dunn's arm.
Watch out for this scene where the detective is asking this nurse where someone is. The nurse says "BEHIND you." But then the detective turns to his RIGHT, because that's where the guy is.
And I can't believe that it takes the good guys forever to realize that all it takes is a Bic lighter to destroy the methane-breathing menace. There are so many ways that they could have made this movie funnier.
"Mommy, that man has a potty mouth." or they could have tried to thwart the methane menace with air freshener. So many possibilities.
But like I say, the movie's not that bad. Worth a rental, no more.
All in all, I figure it's still better to watch a so-so Sci Fi/Horror movie than "Dances With Wolves" or "Evita". This movie will end up being non-memorable, but it's preferable to being in a coma.