Movie Details

This enjoyable sci-fi actioner from director William R. Mesa succeeds despite stealing items from nearly every monster movie of the last twenty years. The plot concerns an idealistic tribal doctor, Ash Mattley (Mark Dacascos), who runs an underfunded provincial clinic in Sarawak, Borneo while trying to develop an immunity-boosting enzyme found only in certain rare beetles. Ash's plans are thwarted by mad scientist Carl Wessinger (Jurgen Prochnow), who steals the doctor's discovery and uses it to reanimate a nasty alien skeleton named Balacau. Ash must team with a pretty CIA operative (Robin McKee) and a precocious native boy (Thomas Taus, Jr.) to stop Wessinger and his hired commandos from selling Balacau to the highest bidder for use as a biological weapon. The monster chases the cast through many dark slimy corridors like the titular beast in Alien (1979), which it also resembles. The monster occasionally uses the cloaking ability of Predator (1987), and there's also a self-sacrificing black computer pro who explodes like Joe Morton in Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991). Despite these and other obvious steals, the film is fast-moving, exciting, and manages to avoid many of the pitfalls which plagued dozens of similar efforts in the 1990s. John Hartigan's pyrotechnic effects are especially well-done, and one scene in which a speedboat is chased by a bazooka-firing helicopter is among the best of its type. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi