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DVD Review

Species IV
The Awakening


Starring: Helena Mattson, Ben Cross and Dominic Keating
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 02 June 2008

When brilliant college professor Miranda Hollander suffers a mysterious blackout, and awakens amid the bloody aftermath of a mass slaughter, she turns to her uncle, Tom Hollander, for answers. But when he reveals the shocking truth that she’s only half human, a clone from a hybrid of human and alien DNA, they must flee to Mexico to locate Forbes the scientist who created her. Soon they find themselves locked in battle with a horde of rampaging, unstoppable hybrids... and time is running out before Miranda will inevitably surrender to the killer instinct that lurks inside her own body...

Species IV: The Awakening is exactly what you'd expect from the latest in this franchise. While the original Species movie was pretty entertaining, every time a sequel crawls out of the woodwork you can almost hear Sil spinning in her grave.

Part of the reason that the original Species movie was watchable (ignoring the obvious fact that Natasha Henstridge got her clothes off) was that the CGI effects, at the time, were pretty impressive. In addition, the fact you didn't know what this strange alien woman was up to also helped to build the tension.

Sadly now we know the basic plot - that a beautiful woman is actually half alien and needs to track down a man to make her pregnant - the plotlines for potential sequels don't really go anywhere. The audience already knows that a sexy woman will turn bad and rip half a city to pieces - before ripping her clothes off - to find a mateable man. There follows a naked love-making scene followed by the inevitable death of the poor sap who gets chosen.

Oddly enough Species IV started quite promisingly. The acting is fine, the lighting pretty atmospheric and the plot is pretty swallowable... but, as the film crawls towards it's inevitable "breasts out for the lads" scenes, my heart sank. The problem is that the Species series is a guaranteed teenage boy/pervy old man pleaser. You know that if you find the leading woman half fanciable that you'll eventually get to see her naked... and this slow waltz to the undressing is starting to get a little long in the tooth. With Giger's designs, it's like a very soft core porn version of the Aliens movies. So we get fighting, explosions and boobs - a teenagers dream.

What's sexier than one alien walking the streets? Lots of aliens. Yes, this time around there are several other aliens on earth - all under the command of a deranged scientist called Forbes (Dominic Keating, better known to Star Trek: Enterprise fans as Malcolm Reed) who has engineered them to act as his slaves. He also has a neat little sideline in injecting people's pets (and occasionally loved ones) with alien DNA, bringing them back to life.

So, as our alien/human hybrid main character gets more and more consumed by her alien side, you just know it's all leading to the mother of all bitch slapping showdowns with the other main female hybrid.

There are no extras at all on this release, but then with a retail price of £13 I don't think you can grumble. A strictly by-the-numbers Species movie that offers nothing surprising. Sound is either 5.1 Dolby Surround or DTS.

Fans of the series will lap this up, but everyone else will probably find it a little tiresome. In fact, and I swear this is not a made up cheap parting shot, for a movie that is called The Awakening I found it ironic that I actually fell asleep in the middle - as did someone else who was with me.


Darren Rea

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