THE STORY:What do you get when you combine parts of the movie Alien, parts of the movie Leviathan, a smidgen of the movie The Thing and a touch of TV movie? Well, you get this movie, Unknown Origin!
J.D. Pickett commands an undersea mining base,( Like in 'Leviathan'...I think they used the same model too.) and has problems getting along with the medical officer, Dr. Lazarus. (Roddy McDowell) The company that owns the mine sends an observer, Catherine Harding (Melanie Shatner) to advise on ways to get the quota up to speed. They get a distress call from a nearby undersea base owned by the Russians and go to the rescue. Inside it they find a russian crazed with fear, several dead and desiccated Russians, and a 'coffin' type thingie that the Russians must have dug up, but is apparently millions of years old. (Like in The Thing) Another Russian comes out of hiding and fires on them, hitting Brill, the assistant medical officer. But Brill is unhurt! He's an android! (like the guy Ash, in Alien) Pickett kills the gun-toting Russian and the crew take the coffin and the other Russian back to their base. (Like in The Thing)
In due course it becomes obvious that an alien parasite has caused the problem at the Russian base and it has infested one or more of the crew at their base. The rest of this would be interesting if you haven't seen it all before. Everyone is paranoid that the other guy is the parasite. (Again like in The Thing) They search the base for the alien and have a few "fake scares". (Like having Lazarus' parakeet pop show up on their motion detectors) Pickett has a plan to test everyone to find out if the parasite is controlling them by putting them in a room and draining the oxygen. The alien should try to leave their body when they start to die. Of course the crew bicker about such an idea, but Pickett is the only one that has a gun. (Like The Thing). A few more deaths later, and Lazarus is the parasite. He plans to blow up the base and be rescued so he can infect humans on the surface. (Like the Thing with a little bit of Alien in it) Pickett and Harding, the only humans left alive destroy him and escape. But Harding discovers that Pickett has been infected. He doesn't kill her though...he just warns her to stay out of his way.
I'm serious when I say that if we hadn't seen it all before this movie would have been pretty good, at least for a b-movie. But considering that I've been there, done that and that there were absolutely no new ideas in this movie it was kind of boring. Fans of Babylon Five will recognize Richard Briggs the guy who plays Hawks, as Dr. Stephen Franklin on that show. Star Trek fans will note that Harding is played by Melanie Shatner, the daughter of one of trek's most illustrious captains. I'll leave that to you, the reader to figure out who.
Best Lines:"How do you propose to do that? Pull a thorn out of his paw?"- Pickett to Harding when she says they have to show the gun toting russian that they're friends.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?:
1.)Melanie Shatner CANNOT ACT!
2.)What year is this supposed to be? They have human looking androids and Trek-like medical scanning doohickeys. Lazarus refers to an incident that happened "back in the 20th century". I'd guess its gotta be late 21st century at least, but humorously (at least to me) when the big storm brewing in the sea (that prevents them from calling for help, natch) needs to be shown we see footage of an obviously 1980's like hurricane whipping up the coast. It only lasts a few seconds, but I thought it was worth saying.
3.)Crew woman Fife is an idiot. The Russian guy they saved is in isolation and he goes into a seizure. Fife breaks quarantine and runs in the room to help him...despite the fact they think he has a virus that made the Russian crew go nuts...and despite the fact that several of her crewmates tell her not to go in. Despite the fact that Commander Pickett ORDERS her not to. Of course she gets infected. I'd say she deserves it. Compassion is one thing, stupidity is a whole different animal.
4.)Crewman Lewis is injured in an accident before any of the action begins in this movie. He's recovering but Lazarus has him strapped down to his bed like he's a mental patient. Why, I have no idea. Especially since its partly Lazarus' fault he was injured. (maybe Dr. Lazarus was afraid Lewis would kick his ass when he recovered?)
5.)The alien as Lazarus activates the base self-destruct sequence. The password was 'Nostromo'. A nod to the movie Alien.
6.)SILLIEST PROP DEPARTMENT- Lazarus loads a Chem light into a cylinder and pretends to inject Fife with it.
NUDITY AND SEX:Crewman Wyatt watches a nude girl fighting ninjas or something on TV.
HUH?:When the crew search the mines six miles beneath the ocean floor they have pressure suits on. Yet they find Lazarus Parakeet down there! How'd the bird get there and how come the pressure didn't crush it?
According to dialogue everyone, including Commander Pickett knows that Wyatt has been smoking "Whacky-weed". Is marijuana legal in the future? If it is wouldn't there be a law against using it while working in an undersea mine? For that matter isn't oxygen conservation an issue?
Pickett SAW the alien infest the doctor. Lazarus even says "kill me, please" before the alien takes over. Pickett still hesitates. He was ready to shoot everyone else five minutes ago just on suspicion!
THE TALLY:This movie didn't suck. It was just tired. I've seen it. In better versions I might add. But still, its worthy of a look see for sci-fi fans or people looking to blow an hour and a half or so. Just don't expect any suprises and be prepared for Melanie Shatner's AWFUL acting.