Stealing more than liberally from Predator and Aliens, Code Red has precious little of the qualities that made both those films action/horror classics. The plot's generally not much to speak of, just a group of highly-trained soldiers who are sent into the jungle on a covert operation, but find themselves amuck in gooey aliens. A couple of sub-plots involving sibling "rivalry" add absolutely nothing to the film or the characters, it's just there to pad the running time and add "depth" to our hero.
The movie spends most of its time inserting and virtually re-making scenes from those aforementioned films. The opening, with its blurry video images and flatline heart rates, is taken straight from the first shootout in Aliens. Later "odes" to the James Cameron thriller include nasty aliens (which look pretty cheesy), red lighting, and loud door poundings. The shootouts are also in the same tradition of Aliens, but are poorly directed, lacking a good sense of direction and clarity.
Most of everything else is taken from Predator: the soldiers trapped and hunted in the jungle, the alien with the mask and high-tech equipment, and there's even a "spiritual," quiet and tough soldier who bears more than a passing resemblance to Sonny Landham's Billy. These riffs actually make D.N.A. look completely subtle in comparison. If it wasn't completely horrible throughout, then the movie still falls apart in the climax, when the silly secrets are revealed and it turns out our so-called cyborg alien (who doesn't appear to be a cyborg at all) is actually a good guy. His revelation of how this whole mess began is mind-blowingly idiotic ("They're bugs.").
An abundance of problems are evident throughout. The gooey aliens are kept inside these glass chambers which apparently can hold them in, except on occasions when it requires a cast member to die. These containers have held these things for thirty years and they somehow get out without a hitch. Uh-huh. The guy playing General Pembroke sounds like he's dubbed over (that can't be his real voice), said general also begins to approach the site before confirmation that the nuclear fail-safe has been deactivated, and the final shootout has such a high body count, I swear more mercenaries were killed than were even involved.
I think the filmmakers don't seem to understand the qualities that made Predator a classic; that film gave us great action, likeable characters, a good macho sense of humor, and kept its plot simple but engrossing. Code Red vies for the same aspects, but decides to muck it up with an ever escalating series of hilariously bad plot twists and revelations. Avoid it, and just watch Predator again for the fifteenth time.
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