Director – John Bruno
Cast – Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin, Donald Sutherland, Joanna Pacula, Marshall Bell, Sherman Augustus, Cliff Curtis, Julio Oscar Mechoso
Release Year – 1999
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I remember seeing this film on television as a young teenager and loving the fact that it used robots as killers. I’ve always been fond of that idea due to my fascination with killers that are not human. Virus is Oscar winning special effects maestro John Bruno’s only feature film in which he directed. He is really most known for his special effects work in X Men: The Last Stand, AVP, Titanic, True Lies, T2: Judgement Day, The Abyss, Fright Night, Poltergeist I & II, and yeah…I’m sure you get the picture.
This film is about an alien life form that somehow comes in contact, and gets onboard the Muir Space Station floating around Earth. Fast forward a little while and we are forced to tag along with Jamie Lee Curtis and the American crew around her on a vessel that becomes damaged due to a really bad storm out at sea. In an attempt to try and find help, they locate an abandoned Russian research vessel and decide to board it thinking it can be salvaged if there are no survivors. Little do they know…the Russian research vessel was in contact with the Muir Space Station, and the alien life form on board the space station was subsequently transferred to the Russian vessel, killing the crew and using some sort of nanotechnology to build sophisticated robots out of scraps. The American crew must not fend for themselves against a life form that is not only much smarter than them, but has plans to rid the Earth of it’s “virus”…humans.
This is a film that I honestly felt could have been really awesome, but failed to do just that due to some silly scriptwriting. This film had most of the elements required for an action packed horror film; a cool antagonist(the robots), lots of gunfire, GORE, and a few A-list actors(Jamie Lee Curtis and William Baldwin), yet it failed to really grasp the audience and thanks to the poor scriptwriting…few of the characters were likeable. We were given nothing more than cliché one-liners, cliché heroes, and little plot/character development. I also found Jamie Lee Curtis to be very annoying due to how overdramatic she was in this role. None of her intense scenes were believable, and left me wondering how she could have performed so bad after performing quite well a year earlier in Halloween: H20. :shrugs:
Is this a bad film? No, not by any means unless you are watching this with an Academy Award mindset. As I mentioned earlier, aside from the scriptwriting and Jamie Lee‘s acting…this film has the goods! Fans of Terminator and Transformers will enjoy the robot sequences in this film. Director John Bruno really did a swell job making sure that these robots came out believable, and didn’t use nearly as much CGI as Transformers did for it’s robots. We applaud you Mr. Bruno. I was really surprised to see the amount of gore that was shown in this film. I loved the idea of the robot using the body of whoever it captured to turn them into a drone that is half robot and half human, with internal and external organs exposed over the robot steel. Wicked!
Overall, as you should have already learned…the best this film has to offer is visual. If you want a no brainer that shows the goods and doesn’t expect you to care too much for the technical stuff then you should enjoy this film, as I did. It could have been better…but it’s good enough to be viewed by those who would be into this horror sub-genre.