Kit and Steve are part of the unlucky crew of a tugboat whose container ship gets lost in a storm (along with their financial future). Damaged, they find themselves in the eye of the storm with a ghost ship (with the most ship). Seeing a salvage opportunity, they board, but soon realize that something is amiss. Can they escape before it’s too late? Find out in… Virus.
How?! Kit is the badass XO of a tugboat whose captain has staked his entire life on one big container ship. Unfortunately that ship is now at the bottom of the ocean after they run smack into the middle of a Pacific typhoon. Badly damaged, they fortunately find their way into the eye of the storm where they are surprised to find they aren’t alone. A giant Russian research vessel is there and looking pretty rough. The captain is seeing dollar signs and as long as no survivors are found they can get a huge chunk of change for salvaging what is a very expensive ship. But things start going badly right away and they realize they aren’t alone. Not just that they find a terrified surviving crew, but when they turn on the power they feel like they are being watched and one of their crew goes missing. When they go searching for him they find an automated workshop producing robots and are attacked by a cyborg! Egad! Turns out there is a spooky alium onboard that is all electrical and shit and it is all up in those robots. They are taking people and turning them into robots too. Like a… uh… robot… uh, what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh… virus. A robot virus. Realizing they have to take out the computer brain they head off, only to be attacked by more alium robots. The captain decides to become a cyborg of his own volition (apparently so he can still salvage the ship… which will probably be a little difficult being a crazy scary cyborg person, but whatever) and the rest of the crew scatter just trying to survive. In the climax they have to fight (and kill) the captain cyborg and then ultimately sets a trap to fight (and kill) the main robot alium brain. Just as they explode the ship, Kit and Steve eject themselves off the ship and are rescued. THE END.
Why?! As usual I kinda love the motivations in a horror film. Obviously all the crew members just want to survive. Other than the captain who really doesn’t care if or how he survives as long as he can still salvage that ship. Turn him into a cyborg, he doesn’t care. Probably use his cyborg brain to get an even better deal on the salvage. Anyway, the bad guys are always more interesting and here the alien is indeed interesting to ponder. It’s electrical and, by my reading, was having a jolly time floating through space before unfortunately finding its way into a space station computer that was connected to the research vessel. Now the alien is trapped on this big dumbo ship and needs to find its way out. Solution? Get some cyborg bodies, pilot its way to a base, and upload onto the world’s computers like a big ol’ terrible alien robot virus. Check mate.
Who?! It’s been a while since I’ve had a surprise entry in this, but Ritchie (who builds the contraption that helps Kit and Steve escape the ship in the end) was played by Sherman Augustus. He was a former professional football player with the Chargers and Vikings. It sounds, though, like he might be a “former professional football player” like on The Bachelor. He apparently suffered a knee injury and never played in a game.
What?! Like Cutthroat Island, you know they were ready to unload what had to be an ungodly number of props for this film. I obviously love the ones that aren’t for sale because I like to imagine how much a fully animatronic cyborg prop would cost. Whatever number you have in mind factor in that one of the tiny robot props runs $2800.00. Yah.
Where?! In some ways this is an A. It takes place on a ghost ship (which the most ship) and that obviously plays quite a big role. However if we’re going from the actual location this is in the pacific somewhat generally. So it’s still quite good for a Middle of the Pacific film, but maybe would put this in more the B range.
When?! This seems to be unknown, although maybe you can catch a glimpse somewhere. The only thing you get is the time frame in relative terms. The alien gets beams down to the research ship before the storm and then seven days later our groups of tugboaters get damaged in the storm. I wonder why seven… maybe biblical? F+.
Much like the big ol’ dumbo ship, this is a big ol’ dumbo movie. It’s got some pretty weird and at times interesting (at other times a little cheesy) special effects. Clearly that’s all the director was interested in because most of the stuff the actors get to do is just scream and run and look at cyborg aliens (and then scream and run some more) and the script is as basic a scifi horror as they could have come up with. No wonder Jamie Lee Curtis talks about this like it’s the worst movie she ever made. Doesn’t seem like the director was very interested in giving the actors much to chew on. Everything is in service of the effects. This isn’t the worst movie though. Just a pretty one-dimensional movie. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! How is it that I’ve watched multiple William Baldwin films this year? Well this one is about him fighting robo-aliums in the South Pacific, so … Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – An interesting preview since Jamie Lee Curtis hate, hate, hated this film. She has called it the worst film ever made in multiple interviews. That seems … hyperbolic. I mean, I’ve seen Battlefield Earf, so it is unlikely that Virus is somehow worse than that hot garbage. Based on a graphic novel (yeah, I’m reading that), and with a shoddy PS1 game barely released in the US (yeah, I’m playing that). What were my expectations? From the movie? I don’t know, I guess a mostly cheesy Sci-Fi film with bad effects. From the video game? The game genuinely looks like the worst game I’ve ever seen, and I recently watched someone speedrun King’s Quest 8. So that is exciting.
The Good – Some of the monster designs are okay, even if the execution is unimpressive. I also like Jamie Lee Curtis, who, despite hating working on the film, brings that Scream Queen cachet to the film to solid effect. The core idea of the electrical alien attack is trite now, but was definitely an interesting idea at the time when computer viruses were still a somewhat unknown entity in popular culture. Best Bit: Jamie Lee Curtis.
The Bad – The actual effects are awful, a poor man’s The Thing (1982). If they were done with as much effect as in that film, then I’m convinced the film would have been somewhat effective. Sutherland and Baldwin were both subpar, likely second or third choices for their roles, borderline television movie level at times. Like when Sutherland is a robot … it is Heartbeeps level weirdness, the whole thing feels like a director completely in order his head and over budget. Fatal Flaw: The aliums look like trash.
The BMT – I love films set on boats. I love films with electric aliums. I love films with William Baldwin. This film kind of had it all. It is a kind of fun movie is you squint, but it does get sunk by looking like garbage. The vitriol by Curtis is unwarranted … but you can definitely feel like the production must have been terrible. Did it meet my expectations? Yup, cheesy sci-fi film with bad effects. I was delighted that William Baldwin was as weird as ever, and who can help but be charmed by just-almost-too-old Donald Sutherland, if only he was an arsonist. Stay tuned for my video game review.
Roast-radamus – A pretty solid and rare Setting as a Character (Where?) for the boat being specifically stranded in the South Pacific. I wonder if they were near the Blue Lagoon. I think that is it. Closest to BMT I think. I personally liked it, but I’m also certain if I showed it to anyone they would be like “what the hell is this?” and laugh at it.
Sequel, Prequel, Remake – Definitely a sequel. Set 25 years after the events of the original film Steve Baker has made a name for himself in the US military as they prepare for the potential return of the electro-aliums from the original film. This terror is unleashed upon the world in the form of a communication satellite infected with a new virus which beams into, you guessed it, the internet. That’s right, the Aliums are in cyberspace and they want to take over the world! Ba ba baaaaaaa! Los Angeles, the mecca of social media influencers becomes ground zero for a viral infection that makes the original film look like a radio play, you got robots up the wazoo. In flies Baker, who gets Kit Foster, now a Neo-Luddite living off the grid, out of retirement to try and contain the cyberspace firestorm. They tap into cyberspace with the military’s new VR haptic suits and fight the virus virtually, and, spoiler alert, they totally pwn those alium dweebs. Virus 2: Cryptowarz. Get fat William Baldwin on the phone stat!!
You Just Got Schooled – Another tie-in cycle film, another terrible video game. This week, the survival horror game Virus: It is Aware. Oh boy … uh, this might actually be the worst game I’ve ever played. I only ultimately played an hour or two of it, and while I think I could finish it, I don’t think I have the will to. A bit tough to find, I ultimately set up a standalone PS1 emulator and got it working. It feels a bit like a homeless man’s Resident Evil as far as gameplay is concerned. Somewhat interesting in that each level, much like Little Nicky, is standalone. After you complete the level it gives you a code (you can save, but apparently around this time for releases to secondary markets some games chose to also provide a code instead, again, like Little Nicky!), and you get all of your health and ammo back. The parallels to Little Nicky are striking, a game made on the cheap, borrowing heavily from better games, to push to market a tie-in with little thought about gameplay. Except I found Little Nicky bizarrely charming. This … is an abomination, only to be played ironically. F. Until further notice this is the worst game I’ve ever played in my life, may god have mercy on the developers’ souls.
Bonus Book Report – Oh snap, that’s right, I also read the four issue graphic novel series by Dark Horse, also called Virus. The story is kind of close to the movie, although here everyone is immediately on board with the salvage operation, and the alium takes over really quickly. In my opinion … the art style is pretty bad looking, and the two main characters are cliches. It is pretty obvious that it was written by someone who isn’t a professional writer, ultimately creating an impossibly capable everyman mechanic as his main character with really really bad dialogue. It also seems potentially like a rip off of The Thing … especially considering he wrote a sequel graphic novel to the 1982 film that same year … it seems pretty likely. That being said, a pretty enjoyable quick read, took me maybe an hour, and you can see why they thought they could brush it up into a sci-fi thriller. C+. Not a good graphic novel, but a fun read regardless paired with the film.