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In 1993, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence Project receives a transmission detailing an alien DNA structure, along with instructions on how to splice it with human DNA. The result is Sil, a sensual but deadly creature who can change from a beautiful woman to an armour-plated killing machine in the blink of an eye. Government agent Xavier Fitch assembles a team of scientists and mercenaries to locate and destroy Sil before she manages to find a mate and breed. Written by
Alexander Lum <email@example.com>
Species is like a meeting between an amateur low budget film, and a big budget horror movie. On the one hand; the film has a great cast and is professionally produced, but on the other - the special effects wouldn't have looked out of place in an eighties film, and the plot concentrates mostly on its sleazy and often silly by-products. That being said, however, the movie is lots of fun; and overall I wouldn't hesitate to call it one of the best horror films of the nineties. The film takes obvious influence from a range of similar films, such as Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce and Jack Sholder's 'The Hidden', but it brings all of it's elements together well and somehow manages to feel fresh and inventive. The plot is pure hokum, but it works well; as alien-human crossover 'Sil' escapes from a testing lab with a team of professionals, comprising a psychic, an action hero, a woman etc, on her tail. Sil's ultimate goal is to reproduce, and to complete that aim she must find a man. So basically, what we have here is a sexy, horny, naked chick being chased around before she can have sex with someone. Sounds good to me...
I'm not quite sure how director Roger Donaldson managed it, but he's managed to get quite a few names to appear in his film; and most of them do well with their roles. Despite the fact that she probably isn't really, Natasha Henstridge looks clean and pure in the lead role; and this both ensures that she looks the part, and the film is great in that it carries off the juxtaposition of having a sweet-looking virginal woman act like a prostitute. Ben Kingsley is the biggest cast surprise, as the former Ghandi actor looks slightly out of place in a B-movie like this. Michael Madsen is absolutely great in his typecast action hero role and the cast is completed by a memorable performance from Alfred Molina, and a rather annoying one from Forest Whitaker. Marg Helgenberger fails to make much of an impression as Madsen's love interest. The two plots that run concurrently are played out well, and climax nicely. The special effects are key in a film like this, and even though they're cheap throughout - they do look fairly realistic. It's not until we get to the end and the director decides to spoil it with some abysmal CGI that the effects become a problem. But even so, Species takes its plot well and isn't too serious, and I've got to rate this as a really fun flick overall.
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