Reviewed by Gord Pratt
Rating: 6 Beans
PECIES is the tale of one alien/human crossbreed and her/it's quest to get laid. Sort of like ALIEN meets BOOTY CALL, but with more slime and less acting.
The feature alien in SPECIES is played by an often-mostly-naked Natasha Henstridge. She escapes from her glass cage in a secret laboratory and (after a short and slimy puberty) attempts to mate, killing several people in the process. Enter the good guys. 4 men and a token woman/love interest are selected to hunt down the horny alien. The group consists of the manhunter Preston Lennox (Michal Madsen), the nerd/deadmeat Dr. Stephen Arden (Alfred Molina), the token woman/love interest Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger), and leader-for-no-good-reason Xavier Fitch (Patrick Stewart, OOps, I mean Ben Kingsley). Rounding out the group of ragtag alien hunters is empath Dan Smithson (Forest Whitaker) who's sole purpose is to tell us what the alien is feeling so Natasha Henstridge can play a half-nude alien without actually needing to display any emotion.
This may have been billed as a horrow flick, but it's not at all frightening. None of the characters are deep enough to deserve our sympathy and let's face it...a half-naked Natasha Henstridge just isn't scary. The special effects are fine. Even the plot isn't too bad. SPECIES' flaws lie in the acting and writing (the worst places for flaws to lie).
The alien attempts to mate a few times, with each unsuccessful attempt resulting in a homicide. Then the good-guy team shows up and explains to us what happened and why. This goes on for far too long before the alien gets tricky and turns from hunted to hunter in the most ridiculous series of coincidences I've ever seen.
The Alien intelligence itself is a mass of contradictions. She/it knows enough to pay for a train ticket, but not enough to lock the door while cocooning. She/it doesn't know what a TV is, but understands the idea of a 'commercial' well enough to color her/its hair. She/it drives, hangs out at night clubs, fakes it's own death, and shops for clothes but is surprised when the remote control actually turns the tv on? Where was this alien raised, Hollywood? (Oh, wait...I guess she was.)
This movies holds no surprises. As the main characters are introduced, you *know* which ones are going to die. There is no surprise ending. There are no startling moments which aren't telegraphed beyond belief. It's pure Hollywood tripe with heavy doses of exposition doled out at regular intervals.
"She walked. She walked...that way"
-Dan Smithson (Forest Whitaker)
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