Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Precursor to Underworld

Full Eclipse 1993
Director: Anthony Hickox
Writers: Richard Christian Matheson and Michael Reaves
Starring Mario Van Peebles, Patsy Kensit, Bruce Payne, Paula Marshall, Anthony John Denison, Victoria Rowell and Jennifer Rubin

This was a film I had watched plenty of times in my college days. I had not viewed it in a long while, and I watched it again the other day and it is still a great action horror hybrid film, that is a film that paved the way for films like Underworld and the Blade films. It has some things that are similar too Honk Kong action films and has a great cast with a great heavy played by Bruce Payne who I have dug since Passenger 57. The film moves at a rapid click and has some great action sequences, the only complaint I would make is that the effects in the film are weak. It seemed like they did not put enough effort into this, and this is really the only thing that separates this from being a classic film.
The plot basics are this, we meet 2 cops, Max Dire (Peebles) and Jim Sheldon (Denison), who are called in for a hostage situation at a club. They end up on the roof and sneak in through the air vents, but the main hostage taker hears the creaking and shoots Jim and Max goes crazy and dives down and blows them all away. Jim is hurt badly and on intensive care and doesn't look like he will survive, but someone injects him with something and he bounces back with what looks like superhuman abilities. He doesn't handle them well though, and kills himself. Soon after this Lt. Adam Garou (Payne), who heads a special unit comes to Max and recruits him. Soon Max discovers that they are not quite what they appear but he gets pulled into them and starts to take the injections that Garou is giving his crew. Something doesn't is right with Max though and he finds out the truth behind Garou and this leads to a showdown at the docks, which takes a interesting turn.
This was a damn good film. Hickox is one of my fave genre directors of the late 80's and early 90's. He has a sure hand with the film combining action with horror effortlessly. The script is fun and the characters really come to life in the film. The cast is great, Peebles is a great hero, who struggles with inner turmoil's throughout. Payne is a great heavy and you can see how he relishes playing the villain. Patsy Kesnit as Peeble's femme fatale is quite good too, she is very sexy and nice to watch, whenever she is onscreen. The action sequences are great, I especially loved the opening and closing scenes, they were frenetic and exciting. The SFX are pretty weak and I think that mainly has to do with this being a TV production. This was a fun film that paves the way for some of the modern action horror hybrids.
This one gets 3 out of 5

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