4/15/13

LIFEFORCE - REVIEW


There was an obvious way to adapt a novel geniusely called "The Space Vampires": Planet Terror-style, with Grindhouse tongue-in-cheek mayhem and gallons of blood being thrown at you. Director Tobe Hooper, it turns out, was the right man for the job when it came to turning The Space Vampires into Lifeforce, a much more interesting take on a pretty silly premise.

The movie sees astronauts reach a planet, fly through its space colon and uncover a bunch of giant bats and three naked people in glass coffins. The plan? Bring all that shit back to Earth, of course! Because war, disease and poverty aren't quite enough: we need space vampires in our lives. Soon enough, one of those alien beings wakes up and causes mayhem. Turns out, those good-looking weirdos from outer space can literally suck the life out of you through intense electrical make-out sessions and turn you into one of them. It becomes up to a total of two dudes with bad haircuts to try and sort out this whole mess.

What's great about Lifeforce is how seriously it takes its subject matter: here we have a film which includes vampires (of sorts), mummies (of sorts), aliens, zombies, exorcisms, magic swords... you name it, it's there and handled with the utmost respect. Which means that when something nuts happens, it's pretty arresting. Patrick Stewart pops up briefly in this movie and just about steals the show with a freak-out scene you won't forget in a hurry, then there's the space vampires themselves who turn into mummy-like corpses when they are without "lifeforce" and the practical effects involved in those scenes go for a certain amount of realism, coming off as impressive and kinda disturbing. But for all the madness Lifeforce has to offer, it's not quite a perfect film. Mostly because its second act feels needlessly long and somewhat boring. Then, in its third act, not only does its pace pick up again but it turns into a completely different movie altogether! Suddenly, we're in a big zombie disaster flick with London burning to the ground and everyone in the city going ape shit. It's a lot of fun but you kinda wish this whole thing had happened earlier in the movie, or at least had been built up a little more. As it stands, it's a bit random.

Here's a film that does really well to get you instantly invested into its out-there plot and is peppered with enough crazy stuff to keep you curiously entertained throughout. It has its longueurs, it's a little uneven but it's quite probably one of the most original monster movies you'll see in terms of its visual and tonal approach to the genre so it's well worth checking out.

Odd, to say the least!

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