As a rule I do not usually review films that have made their debut on television, but in the case of “Antibody” I made an exception for a couple of reasons. First, this was too good to pass up. Secondly this movie was produced for a traditional release. However, after languishing without being picked up for distribution it was tabbed for broadcast on the Sci-Fi Network, albeit in sanitized-for-television form. Given the cable channel’s rather narrow demographic Blockbuster’s DEJ Entertainment division took a chance at a cheap profit and sprung this title out on the public in its original splendor.
The premise here is that a team of technicians have to be miniaturized into a hypodermic needle and inserted into an international terrorist. Now you would be a liar and a communist if you were to say this is a blatant rip-off of “Innerspace”. That is because this steals more material from “Fantastic Voyage” and is therefore only a subtle rip-off of the Joe Dante film. The reason they need to enter the cold-bloodstream of a killer is that he has a microscopic detonator implanted and it needs to be located before Europe is transformed to a nuclear Mojave.
What sets up all this excitement is that Lance Henrikson is no good at his job. We get introduced to him as Dr. Richard Gaynes, head of the Seattle bomb squad. Called out to diffuse a device at the Russian Embassy he hears on the radio that there is a gentleman in the lobby holding a gun, a detonator, and a concert, (he’s singing a foreign national anthem). Gaynes makes the call to bring down the troubled troubadour, and as the man is shot the bomb becomes armed. After the block is reduced to gravel Gaynes is lynched in the media so he runs off to hide in Germany.
Despite the mishap Gaynes rebounds as the head of an elite security firm and the Germans must have a rather forgiving resume process as he has been given the job of guarding the life of that country’s leader. A scientific conference is being held in Munich to explore Germany’s involvement in the field of nano-science, (the study of little stuff) and Gaynes and his staff is in charge of security. Leaders from European nations are in attendance as well as one scientist whom a TV news crews states has won the Nobel Prize for Science.
Note: Not to quibble too much here, but the Nobel committee awards their prize in five scientific disciplines, (physics, economics, literature, chemistry, and medicine) as well as their Peace Prize. To win the Nobel Prize for “science” is akin to earning a Master’s Degree for school.
As Gaynes and his crew monitor the proceeding they fail to cover the kitchen. This allows a scruffy looking group with steam trays to come in and begin shooting up the conference, because like the rest of the rational world they oppose nano-science, I guess. The ring-leader marches the leader of Germany outside and assassinates the Chancellor on the steps for the news cameras, announcing there is a nuclear weapon set to detonate somewhere on the Continent in 18 hours. He also has a detonator planted inside his body and it will arm the bomb if he is killed.
As he returns inside the Gaynes gang finally do something, ambushing the terrorists and they getting their leader under control, but they fail to cover one of the downed assailants, and the henchman shoots his role model in the hopes of setting off the bomb. The Russian ruffian is placed on life support and now the experts have to figure a way to locate a microscopic detonator concealed somewhere inside of him. Luckily there happens to be a research laboratory just down the street that has perfected the art of microscopic reduction. I guess the terrorists should have taken action a few months earlier when they were still beta testing.
Despite the fact that Gaynes has already fumbled twice in this movie he is tabbed to join the science team as they make their first ever trip inside a human, having pissed off the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals by exploring the vascular systems of quadrupeds. The lead scientist is Robin Givens, who grins like a debutante during the entire trip and wears enough makeup to shame a rodeo clown. She was actually more believable as a genius high schooler in “Head of the Class” than she is as the lead microbiologist piloting an inner spacecraft.
There is a technological paradox with this film as the scenes inside the human blood stream are impressive and entertaining, but then the interior of the craft looks like little more than an upgrade from something found on the set of “Space: 1999”. Here you will find there is very little in the form of flashing lights, no video monitors, and most of the controls are located overhead as the crew faces the camera. It looks like all of the ships functions are operated by reaching up to the top shelf of the closet.
After cruising around the terrorist’s body for a spell it finally dawns on Gaynes that the detonator may be located near the brain stem, but they are sight-seeing somewhere in femoral artery, so they need to veer back into a hypodermic needle and be reinserted into the neck. There they have to do battle with white blood cells, firing off laser cannons at the immuno-defenders and making me wonder what might happen with those errant shots around the central nervous system. If that was not enough to contend with as they were reinjected they brought along a skin mite, which attacks the ship with aplomb. I am no MD myself, so you can imagine my surprise that a skin mite could thrive in the sub-dermal environment. It made for some slick visuals though.
Antibody is by no stretch a great film, but as a science fiction rip-off it is not a good film either. The shots in the internal environment were enjoyable, but so much more had to be endured to get there. And the cast was a group of sleepwalkers. The best of the troupe was William Zabka who was Otto, the primary assistant to Gaynes. Curiously in this film he was more believable as a German security expert than he was as a blonde California teen bully in “The Karate Kid”, and that shows real growth as an actor. Robin givens should take note.
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