“I am standing on the edge of the abyss of life itself. I can never resist peering in. Can you?”
Justin’s rating: Will the sequel be named AND?
Justin’s review: While we’ve not been shy here at Mutant Reviewers to point out the shameless flood of Aliens copycats over the years, words should be spilled about a lesser but still noticeable Predator imitations that pop up here and there. One of these scrappy low-budget ripoffs emerged in 1996 calling itself DNA (which stands for Do No more Aliens).
Down in a South American jungle, a bad doctor steals some overachieving bugs to use for mad science, while a good doctor tries to thwart his aspiration. This thwarting will be more difficult when the bug juice is used to animate some prehistoric jungle alien and make it even more lethal than before.
Why would one do this? Because science and inspirational speeches about “curing the 20th century” and probably boredom, that’s why!
Good Doctor teams up with CIA Doctor and an adorable tyke (call him “Newt Jr.”) to investigate all of the killings that our headlining creature is doing. They take a journey deep into the Amazon rainforest, seeing just how far they can get before something disembowels them, uses their skull as a trophy, or burrows into their gut for some egg-laying. I think they can probably make 25 minutes with their brand of pluck.
Budget constraints clearly led to a lengthy section in the middle of this film that takes place in a dimly lit facility that’s been trashed by the PrediAlien. Considering that the critter had to be CGI’d in this era, the low lights are probably for the best. They bump into Evil Doctor and some minions who will all be alien chow in a few minutes. Honestly, I can’t wait, because Evil Doctor won’t stop with the megalomaniac speeches. That’s probably the worst part of this entire flick.
There’s some good B-movie cheese here, especially how the cast gets whittled down in predictable ways, everyone makes principled stands, and the monster is scared of bright lights. Eventually the bad guy compound is blown up and the fight against the creature goes into what looks like a rather nicely groomed Florida gated community.
When you toss in overtones of Indiana Jones, Apocalypse Now, and Jurassic Park as well (maybe even Anaconda while I think of it), DNA is a strange genetic mish-mash of all sorts of familiar beats. Yet instead of being a complete mess due to overly high aspirations and a low budget, everything kind of breaks in favor of this flick. The editing is surprisingly competent, the soundtrack rather engaging, and the whole package kept me really hooked. It’s not nearly as great as any of the movies that it wants to be, but I can see this as being a movie you wouldn’t turn off if a cable channel or streaming platform plopped it down in front of your face.
- “Provence” who needs a spell checker for subtitles?
- Don’t you love it when someone gives you your own biography in an awkward expositional speech?
- Did they really pull the “abandon all hope ye who enter here” inscription?
- That’s a big bug hole
- He’s shooting people over bugs? Seems a bit extreme but OK.
- This is totally Jurassic Park, down to the black computer expert with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and the hacker with the Hawaiian shirt
- “I’ve logged 44 hours of simulated jungle time”
- Anaconda decapitation!
- Now that we’ve taken a long canoe trip, I’d like you to fully change your clothes in the middle of the jungle for a non-perverted reason
- I’m actually digging the soundtrack
- CIA doc kills a bad guy with a thrown knife to the throat in the dark — nice shot!
- How many times are people going to try to kill this kid, only to get killed themselves?
- “Whatever happened to democracy!” whaa
- Aww bad monster is scared by flashing lights
- “What is… gunpowder!”
- I see we’re now Die Hard. Pick a lane, movie!
- Go figure, driving a truck flat-out in an unfamiliar jungle will end in a crash before 100 yards is covered
- Dude that helicopter is not messing around!
- Oh the alien has an invisibility cloak, just because
- The helicopter crash is so badly faked