Review: DNA


DNA... wow... where do I begin. Well, this movie holds fond memories for me and my friends, right back from our school days. Back in the day, when channel 5 really didn't have any money, and really didn't give a shit, this movie had a regular slot on its 9 o'clock film slot. We all watched it, countless times, and then when it had finally run its course, like a dream, it began to fade from memory.

It was not forgotten however.

Rare and out of print, we stumbled upon this gem the other week. Tentatively we began to watch. Were the memories we had held onto simply exaggerated, or was this movie as good as we all remember it to be?

The plot, which is what sticks in your head the most I might add, sounds like something which is too good to be true. Imagine that rather than write any original material yourself, you simply merge together a whole host of the most iconic creature movies of the last 20 years into one movie. That’s right, shamelessly DNA blends Jurassic Park, Alien and Predator together with a made for TV budget; the results are quite staggering.

First off lets just get the plot out of the way. Just as Dr Hammond tried and failed, Dr Karl Wessinger is playing god. Finding the remains of an ancient alien buried in the Thai jungle he uses the advancements in genetic science to resurrect the organism. Whilst trying to contain it with electric fences and live cow bait lures he underestimates the power of the creature he has created. After loosing contact with the facility the CIA send a foxy operative to check upon him who in turn Dr Ash Mattley, played by Mark Dacascos to play the regular action hero and guide her to the facility; although I'm not sure the gesture was warranted, after all she had been given over 20 hours of simulated jungle time!

With that out of the way, the real question is, how did the film makers get away with the blatant plagiarism which becomes a common theme in the movie. I like to think of it as more of a homage.

Lets talk about phase one: Jurassic Park. With the initial set up of the movie getting the characters introduced (which now when I think about it is kind of like an Indian Jones movie), the rescue party arrive at the facility where they must try to regain power. The technicians that are there, one white one black, have to reinitialise the door locking mechanisms (using the latest Jurassic park operating system) whilst they move through the facility to restart the backup generators. It is here we see the creature in all its glory whilst some a couple of the cast get dispatched.

A glimpse of the creature is worth the price of the movie alone. Although my description is probably more accurate, but couldn't help but add user 'Death_gothica's' description of the creature as a precursor to my own simply because its both funny and true. I quote:

"...a creature that looks like a cross between a lizard, a body builder, and a tropical fish"

Perfect. I however, would simply describe the creature as having the body of an alien, the ability to cloak as a predator with a head which blends the features of both organisms. Not surprising when the special effects teams responsible for creature design was none other than those who worked on both of these movies.

With the generator back online we move to phase two: Alien/Alien 3. By using humans as lures the group they must attempt to channel the creature into a trap, cutting its route back by closing drainage gates behind him. Then onto phase 3: The Predator jungle fighting phase. Mark knows what had to be done, he must kill it. Thankfully he has been receiving boyscout jungle trapping lessons off Arnie as he attempts to bag the creature with the old falling tree trunk manoeuvre! From then on its all about using the mud and water to interfere with the creatures Infra-red vision mode to its demise.

I realise that this review is more revealing than most, but I feel that without such in depth descriptions this movie would be sadly overlooked should it ever receive a more mainstream DVD release.

Overall, DNA is a movie which needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Expect a cheesy creature movie, enjoy the similarities with the other movies, and marvel at the dodgy special effects, oh and the creature, he's up there with the best of them! At the moment the DVD release available seems patchy in price, most being around 40 quid, which please don't spend, despite my enthusiasm, however the odd one pops up on Ebay every now and then from Canada for about a fiver, probably a bootleg, but hell, go for it for that!

The memory was justified!

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