directed by John Bruno
Universal Studios, 1999

If you haven't seen the movie, then you can rent it at your local video store. And it's about worth the $1-2 you have to pay to see it. Or, better yet, if you have cable TV, wait until it comes out on HBO or Showtime.

Normally, I like movies starring Jamie Lee Curtis; however, this one was mediocre at its best. Take Aliens, throw in Speed 2 or Under Seige (basically your on-the-water movies), and you've got a good idea of what Virus is all about.

The premise of the film is simple: a Russian space vessel, Mir, encounters an energy life form, which is then transmitted to a Russian science ship. Turns out that the energy life form lives off energy and after reading the ships databanks decides that humankind is a virus that needs to be wiped out. Enter in our unlikely heroes aboard a salvage tugboat, the Sea Star. Trapped in the eye of a hurricane and sinking, they encounter the Russian science ship apparaently dead in the water and devoid of crew. The greedy captain (played by Donald Sutherland) claims the ship as salvage against the better advice of his first mate (Curtis). They encounter a seemingly crazed Russian scientist (Joanna Pacula) who babbles about the entity on board who needs electricity to survice. Thinking her crazy, the crew explores the ship, and finally encounters the entity who uses the ships robotic labs to build itself an army to help destroy humans.

Curtis plays a more conservative and less aggressive version of Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from the Alien trilogy. There is a hinted love interest with William Baldwin which is alluded to once, and then never mentioned. The visual effects are OK, as the energy alien nabs the crew for spare parts to help build its army of destruction (think of a Terminator crossed with a Borg). Donald Sutherland's character seems to be the only one with any substance behind it. You instantly recognize him as a greedy S.O.B who only is out to look for himself. The other characters, including Curtis, are spotty at best, and are only there for fodder to be shot at.

The storyline is predictable at worst, and the plot is mediocre at best. If you want suspense and a feeling of terror, go watch Aliens. If you want something to watch while doing 10 other things, then I suggest this movie.

[ by Jade Falcon ]

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