The Hybrid, AKA Scintilla (2014) Science Fiction That Feels Real

Screen shot from The Hybrid

This 2014 film, originally titled Scintilla is one of the most believable science fiction movies on offer at the moment. Its tale of genetic experimentation and finding DNA on meteorites scattered across Russia which go towards making a human/alien hybrid feels all too real in a time where gene splicing is almost becoming the norm.

Directed by Billy O’Brien (Isolation, Ferocious Planet) from a script with no less than five writers, one of whom is the director himself, and starring John Lynch (Black Death, The Secret Garden), Craig Conway (Doomsday, The Stagg Do) and proving that there is life after Misfits, Antonia Thomas. The cast is rounded out by a group of excellent character actors that include Jumayn Hunter from Attack the Block and Eden Lake, who all really help to sell this film’s story.

Lynch, who has been a favorite since The Secret Garden plays Powell, a mercenary who is in prison being tortured at the start of the film. He is released to retrieve a scientist who is ensconced in a underground lab. The doctor is busily experimenting on human/alien hybrids and Powell heads up a team, of his old mercenary comrades, to enter the facility.

This movie looks brilliant. Resembling a war film rather than a science fiction thriller, which it really is, helps to sell the plot, telekinesis and telepathy included. The hybrids, and the Mole Rats are equally disturbing although the alien/human specimens initially move the viewer more toward pity. Later, those feelings are replaced with a sense of fear as the male gets loose.

The director has done a brilliant job of letting his actors run with the roles assigned them. Amusingly, Craig Conway’s character gets something lopped off, reminiscent of his Sol in Doomsday and he actually gets the best line in the film, “iPhone batteries always let you down.” His Mason may spend a good portion of the film silent, but he gets the best, albeit short, character arc of the lot with a great redemption scene as well.

Ned Dennehy (Blitz, Sherlock Holmes) as Harris gives a great performance as the chap who seems to be capable of doing it all. A sort of Chief Cook and Bottle Washer who also has a pretty decent arc. Keep an eye on Chris Ellis-Stanton, who plays Williams, this actor has the presence of a young Roger Moore and will no doubt become someone who graces British screens quite a lot in the future.

The only let down in the film’s cast is the scientist, played by Beth Winslet. That could well be down to the lines her character had to deliver with a maximum amount of dispassion. Available on US Netflix at the moment this film earns a good 4 out of 5 stars for being presented in such way that the viewer is not overwhelmed by the more fantastical side of science fiction. From Powell’s constant eating of what appears to be either a corn beef or ham sandwich to the Russian biker girl (played superbly by
Aiste Gramantaite) with enough attitude to sink a ship, the film, its plot and characters all have a gritty believability that is a pleasure to experience.

Do not miss this cracking little film with the big cast and don’t let the hoodie at the end terrify you too much.

19 May 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

Z Nation: In Nebraska No One Can Hear You Scream

Z Nation: In Nebraska No One Can Hear You Scream

It has to be said, that Z Nation is getting better, at least in terms of esoteria being left behind while still holding on to the grim humor; there is a zombie stampede in Nebraska and the group discover that in that state, no one can hear you scream. The dual plot this week had the little group of survivors, tasked with saving the world, along with Murphy trapped in a town enveloped by a hoard of stampeding, or migrating, undead. The wandering zombies take over the little burg and Murphy’s tired, dehydrated group lack the energy to do much more than hide from the encroaching tide of a zombie tsunami, or as the episode title calls it, a zunami.

‘Castle’ Child’s Play: Selling Ice Cream Can be Murder

‘Castle’ Child’s Play: Selling Ice Cream Can be Murder

Episode four of Castle this week had an ice cream vendor being shot in his van, seeming to prove that selling ice cream can be murder until it turns out that the victim’s profession had nothing to do with his being killed. As the show progressed it turned out that the vendor was not the only person to meet an untimely end. The two plot lines in Child’s Play deal with Alexis learning to deal with Rick being back and wanting to keep track of her father’s every move and the second is Rick getting in touch with his inner child, something that the writer is very good at already, so he can find out which child in a second grade class may have witnessed the ice cream van murder.

The Equalizer: Why is Denzel Washington More MacGyver than Robert McCall

The Equalizer: Why is Denzel Washington More MacGyver than Robert McCall

From 1985 to 1989 English actor Edward Woodward was The Equalizer, aka Robert McCall, a former well armed shadowy governmental agent who “had gun and traveled,” albeit not very far, to help the innocent; why then, in the big screen adaptation is Denzel Washington more like MacGyver than Robert McCall? Anyone watching the film its opening weekend would have noticed that, unlike the small screen version of the character, McCall used quite a number of implements to kill the bad guys. Implements that were not guns. It should also be pointed out that in Mr. Woodward’s televised, and fairly violent, series the villains were mostly homegrown rapists, murderers, blackmailers, et al versus the Russian baddies in the film versio

Legends TNT Action Thriller Continues (Recap and Review) *Contains Spoilers*

Legends TNT Action Thriller Continues (Recap and Review)

*Contains Spoilers*

In the TNT action thriller Legends Sean Bean’s character, Martin Odum, and his identity crisis continues at the same time that missions continue and Officer Tony Rice keeps hounding the FBI because he believes that Odum is a murderer. This intense plot sees the tension increase for Odum each week as the strain of being other people begins to take its toll.