Sunday, 4 September 2011

Review - Monolith (1993 - Dir. John Eyres)

I am getting quite obscure with this one and sadly, you can only get it on VHS. It deserves a DVD release because it is pretty entertaining despite a small budget. 

Tucker (The legendary Bill Paxton - Aliens, Weird Science) and Flynn (Lindsay Frost - The Ring, Dead Heat) are two mismatched cops (obviously) who stumble upon an intriguing case. They witness a woman trying to mow down a little lad in her car. She then gets out and shoots him to death. A fairly shocking start for a direct-to-video sci-fi actioner.

The relationship of the main two characters strikes the right tone from dislike at the start, through grudging respect, all the way to top buddies by the end. Unpredictably, it doesn't stray into romantic territory and the script plays on this in the final scenes. Louis Gossett Jr. is also likeable in this. There's a great scene where he tells the high-level officials from the Department of Historical Research, led by John Hurt, to get out of his police station. Cheesy but fun. Why though, does he get the credit of Louis Gossett Jr. as "Mac"? He can join the ranks of other egotastic characters like Holly Marie Combs as "Piper" (Charmed) and Alyson Hannigan as "Willow" (Buffy)

John Hurt is a quality actor. Not in this though. He has a shocking, wheezy, strange quality to his voice, like he's recovering from a severe kick in the windpipe. His accent's poor too. Then we get on to his overacting. In the final scenes, he is so giddy, shouting and shaking his hands in the air, that you wonder whether he's completely lost it. Still entertaining though.

The good thing about Monolith is that you're never bored. The pace is fast throughout the film and there's loads of action for your pennies. You get exploding ambulances, people thrown off buildings, fireballs shooting out of people's eyes, a fight atop a steel girder framed building and, get ready, our heros jumping towards the camera, away from an explosion, three times! Admittedly, one is not that big, but one is out of a spaceship, so that's way more than Tango and Cash had.

Worth tracking down if you can for a bit of pre-CGI science-fiction. It has a feeling of many similar films of that time: The Hidden, Aliens and Predator 2. If you're lucky, you may see it in a car boot sale for £1. That's where I got my copy from (smug grin and a cocky wobble of the head).

Remember that this is VHS not DVD.

If you like this you could also try:
Dark Angel, Split Second, Warlock, Drive, Tango and Cash.

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