|LIFE (director: Daniel Espinosa; screenwriters: Rhett Reese/ Paul Wernick; cinematographer: Seamus McGarvey; editors: Frances Parker, Mary Jo Markey; music: Jon Ekstrand; cast: Jake Gyllenhaal (David Jordan), Ryan Reynolds (Rory Adams), Rebecca Ferguson (Miranda North), Olga Dihovichnaya (Ekaterina Golovkina), Hiroyuki Sanada (Sho Murakami), Ariyon Bakare (Hugh Derry); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producer: ; Columbia Pictures; 2017)|
but lifeless sci-fi thriller about a Mars
probe that unearths an alien."
by Dennis Schwartz
filmmaker Daniel Espinosa ("Child 44"/"Easy
Money") directs this slick but lifeless sci-fi
thriller about a Mars probe that unearths an alien.
It's written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
(the co-writers of "Deadpool"/“Zombieland”) as
a silly but suspenseful horror pic. The feature has
good technical applications (especially the long single-take
pre-title shot) and good production values (the
interstellar vista shots alone might be worth the
price of a ticket if you have a taste for cheesy
derivative B-films), but it fails to humanize its
characters or come up with a creative story.
ensemble cast is made up of a 6-member space crew. It
includes an international team of 2 white Americans (PTSS
space medic David Jordan-Jake Gyllenhaal and mission
technician specialist Rory Adams-Ryan Reynolds),
2 European women (in charge of disease
control and prevention Miranda North-Rebecca Ferguson
and the overbearing Russian cosmonaut
Ekaterina Golovkina-Olga Dihovichnaya), a
veteran Japanese pilot and recent father Sho
Murakami-Hiroyuki Sanada and the Englishman
black paraplegic microbiologist
Hugh Derry-Ariyon Bakare). If you're a fan of the 1979
Ridley Scott classic Alien, you should note that this
bigger budget knockoff is not even close in quality.
set inside the $200 billion orbiting
International Space Station after a Mars probe returns
with soil samples. Scientist Dherry finds a single-cell
organism he dubs Calvin, that mysteriously and
aggressively morphs into what looks like an angry
squid (a CGI creation that's all muscle, all
eye, all brain) with bad vision. The crew on
the Mars Pilgrim 7 Mission get picked off one at a
time, as the suspense mounts as Calvin gets hungry and
occupies the mouth of his vic to do his gory thing.
Explanations abound that tells us this evolving life
form caused extinction on Mars and now
threatens the Earth unless checked. It builds to a
surprise ending that didn't work for me.
is: "Be careful what you search for." My
tagline would be "Don't believe an alien pic is
good because you think it looks good."
REVIEWED ON 3/25/2017 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ