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By Mark Bell | January 18, 1999

Remember the computer virus that Will Smith used to kick alien a*s in “Independence Day?” Well in this sci-fi disaster-to-come, the aliens “are” a malevolent electronic contamination that invades a high-tech Russian research ship caught in the eye of a typhoon. The aliens’ conduit to the ship is a data transmission from the Mir space station as it is engulfed by a dreamy blue electrical mass. Also in the eye of the storm is a sinking tug. Her crew is delighted to find dry ground aboard the ghost ship, which promises to be a salvage mother lode, until the power gets turned on and the mammoth vessel comes to life literally. First come the little electronic scatter bugs, that look like something out of Errol Morris’ “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control,” and then the gory half-human, half-machine assassins tethered ridiculously by a power cord.
Based on the Dark Horse comic book series, the plot itself is a disappointingly gory concatenation of two recently forgettable sci-fi thrillers; “Hardware” and “Event Horizon.” The cast which features Jamie Lee Curtis, William Baldwin and the vivacious Joanna Pacula, struggle valiantly through the nearly suspenseless action. Even Donald Sutherland in the potentially juicy role as a self-serving old sea dog, is wasted in this big budget ill.

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