My goal, as I have stated on many occasions, is to watch every Sci-Fi Channel Original movie ever made. It’s a futile goal considering Sci-Fi puts out an amazing amount of product yearly, and I don’t have the mental fortitude to watch more than a few of these things a month, but with this one, ‘Alien Hunter’, at least I’ve finally knocked off every Sci-Fi original movie with the word ‘Alien’ it its title. Applause isn’t necessary, but thank you… thank you very much.
A group of people working at the South Pole have found some kind of weird object encased in a big block of ice emitting odd radio signals. If the grainy footage of the people standing around that block of ice looks like a scene from ‘The Thing’, that’s because it is a scene from ‘The Thing’. Regardless, we need to discover what’s in that block of ice and what message, if any, that radio frequency is emitting. For this we need the services of noted cryptologist, and undergrad womanizer Julian Rome (James Spader) who has spent his whole life searching for proof that extraterrestrial life exists. He worked for a government agency dedicated to the search for Alien Intelligence, which is a real, funded agency. You may think that’s a silly agency, but I used to work for the Unicorn Preservation Society before transferring to Mermaid-Faerie Discovery Agency as a translator, so there.
Rome makes a quick trip down to the pole, meets up with one his former undergrad conquests in Dr. Kate Brecher (Janine Eser), who is none too happy to see his ass, and then he observes the large, slowly melting block of ice containing the object. They are doing some great work at this facility which has something or another to do with growing vegetables, work which requires the staff to wear sexy bathing suits while tending to the crops, and of course in the movies ugly, out of shape people are not allowed to get PhD’s, so that’s always appreciated.
Apparently we have a bit of a global situation brewing while this is going on. Somehow the scientist that found this item purposely neglected to tell the Powers that Be because
these Powers have a thing about defrosting alien stuff. That’s bad because these Powers know full well what’s inside the block of ice and if they were notified, they would’ve informed these loons to leave it the hell alone. Now the government has to inform the folks in the South Pole not to touch it, but there’s an awful storm and communication can’t get through. Too bad, because now it’s been de-thawed and the absolute height of irresponsibility would be to take a circular saw and try to open this thing. Who in their ever-loving right mind, over the age of two, would saw open a dormant alien pod? Don’t these people watch movies?
Well, they get it open, just as Rome decoded the alien message stating ‘Do Not Open’, and it’s not good. Maybe the aliens, considering they are all advanced and stuff, could’ve stuck a post-it or something on the outside of that thing as opposed to complex, indecipherable radio waves. Regardless, bad things are happening, but not necessarily because of the sleeping alien inside the pod, whose really not a bad guy, but opening the pod unleashed explosions, famine and pestilence. The government knew that was gonna happen and now the government can’t let these people leave the South Pole alive. Most of them realize this. Except that one asshole who could give a rats ass about infecting the planet Earth as long as he makes it out. Asshole. Nuke launched, asshole running around like an idiot, minutes left. Rome and his people will be missed. Unless…
‘Alien Hunter’ as movie was one that was initially disappointing, but ultimately not so bad. The disappointing part is pretty clear since we have a movie called ‘Alien Hunter’, taking place in the cold and isolation of the South Pole, our characters have no way out when the Alien gets to Hunting, and the atmosphere was such that it felt oppressively horror like, so we were prepared for some alien mayhem, carnage and chaos.
Didn’t get any of that. No Alien Hunting here. No sir, this was something more along the lines of ‘Thirteen Days’ with an alien in it serving as a catalyst to keep things relatively in motion. Because the movie is paced so slowly, and it is slow, bordering on dull at times, it becomes clear pretty early on that we aren’t getting any alien chaos so we were able to adjust our expectations on the fly. Now we’re attempting to get involved in the growing crisis of what’s going to happen when they eventually open the pod, which is still the stupidest thing ever, and we are also trying to get entangled in the efforts to add some depth to the characters. At least James Spader’s character since most everybody else was just stock. Hottie, asshole, old dude, Black Guy that’s gonna die… thing is that Black Guy was played by Carl Lewis and you would think that the World’s Fastest Man would’ve been easily able to scoot away from those that would do him harm.
Anyway, with expectations now firmly in check and understanding what kind of movie this is, also noting that I probably wouldn’t have watched this if I had known this beforehand, ‘Alien Hunter’ wasn’t all that bad. The slow pace eventually grew into some mild tension, the narrative was easily accessible, the performances were solid and it had some interesting themes to go along with decent special effects. Of course I would’ve greatly preferred that the alien got out of that pod and started slicing folks in two, while spitting acid at them, but for what it was we’ve seen way worse than ‘Alien Hunter’.