I had been told for years that this was a fun sci-fi film--so why didn't I listen earlier?--but then it came to my attention that this was on a single disc with Dark City and The Island of Dr. Moreau [remake] and I knew that moviewatching value would be mine. And oh yes, it was. Except that they're all shitty fullscreen versions. What, are we animals?
Speaking of that, it thus begins with a message saying that "the movie has been reformatted to fit this screen," which always makes me ask: "THIS screen? This screen right here? You mean the producers of this DVD sent their minions to break into my apartment, measure my TV screen, and base production of their DVD upon it?" Apparently that is the case. I just wish they'd told me--I would have totally Facebook shared it.
We soon discover that this film was directed by Jack Sholder, auteur of the famous Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge, which is widely acknowledged as the gayest horror film ever made. I tell you this because this one has a smidge of the homo to it as well. Anyway, soon we're joining Chris Mulkey, Hank from Twin Peaks, and discovering that he was quite hot when he was younger. He is leading this high-speed car chase which is--pretty good! It's hard to do a good car chase. The police erect a roadblock and Mulkey--smashes right into it! Then he hits a guy in a wheelchair whose nurse clearly decides it's him or her, and she'd rather it be him. Then he gets out and keeps shooting, despite being shot several times himself. Is this guy hopped-up on one of those energy drinks? It takes a huge explosion to bring him down.
But, there he is, awake and irate, charred to a crisp, in the hospital. When he's alone he climbs on the other patient, and a giant worm comes out of his mouth and goes into the other guy. It is genuinely sickening. Then the other guy, worm tucked snugly inside, gets up and leaves the hospital.
Meanwhile, in here we have met Michael Nouri as Beck, smoldering cop, and he is soon introduced to Kyle McLachlan as Lloyd, FBI agent. We run through [for quite a while] the typical thing of the cop who resents the intrusion of the FBI, which Lloyd remains curiously passive in the face of. While this is going on, our new guy this alien is in is an older upright and boring dude in his fifties. He starts shoplifting. When the manager complains, he bashes him. Then he steals a boombox, and walks down the street blasting it. I will let you know that this movie features a lot of great 80s punk-pop music. He goes in a family diner and sits there, blasting his music, disturbing everyone. This alien turns people into little id-monster degenerates! Which is SO fun. But it soon realizes that this old guy's body is sick, and it would behoove him to put finding a new one on his interstellar agenda.
SPOILERS > > >
Now in here we've had lots of Beck n' Lloyd acrimonious bonding, and Beck invites Lloyd to dinner. The movie manages a very good little trick in here as thus far it has seemed that Lloyd is kind of a zen FBI agent, not unlike his Agent Cooper, but at dinner the movie lets us know--without dialogue--that he himself is an alien. You just slowly start to realize it, then it is confirmed when we see that Earth food nauseates him.
Meanwhile our horny alien goes to a strip club--it is literally like he sees women and says "UUngh!" and heads that way--and fixates on a stripper. Before you can say "Euro Contortionist" she's the alien, and she walks away from scene. She likes a guy's car, let's him pick her up, then kills him during sex as a song on the radio has a man singing: "You don't make me feel like a woman anymore."
Now we'll have to pick things up because here's where the fun parts about the alien making people do amusingly awful things ends and it gets to be more rote chases and gunfights. They follow the stripper to this store, there's a whole shootout, and she ends up jumping off the roof before Lloyd can administer his death beam. He has this special gun that looks like something out of eXistenZ, but he can only shoot the alien when it's travelling between hosts. Meanwhile, on the street below, the alien pops out of the stripper [I feel we were somewhat cheated on stripper-acting-badly fun] and enters the dog of Masterson, the police chief. Later that night, the dog attacks Masterson [fun again] and enters him. Then he goes nuts and shoots up the police station. There's this whole issue of Beck not trusting Lloyd, then finally realizing he's an alien. Yeah, you know what? We can just skip the rest of the ending, it was pretty dull. There is some weird twist at the end, with Lloyd's alien slipping into someone, but I forgot what it was.
< < < SPOILERS END
It was quite fun! The best part is the first half, where you get a bunch of people running around being as awful as possible, liking fast cars and drinking and hot women and loud music, and you have to be amused by how naughty it's being. It's pretty good all the way to the end, it's just that the fun part is at the beginning, so it just sort of slowly winds down and then gets mired in endless shootouts and suchlike. But there are worse things to have happen.
That's about it: fun 80s sci-fi, nothing more to say.
Yes, especially if you like silly bun fun 80s sci-fi.