Species IV: The Awakening

Species - The Awakening

Species: The Awakening (2007)

A young professor is stunned to find out the dark truth of her heritage as she and her adoptive uncle race to find a way to save her from death and, later, herself.

The fourth installment in a film franchise that should have ended after two, this is the first to follow a modified storyline (the previous sequels were direct sequels to the original film).  Miranda is a brilliant young professor (Helena Mattsson) who blacks out one night and finds herself in a hospital surrounded by dead bodies the next morning.  Her “uncle” (Ben Cross) rushes to her aid and takes her to Mexico, explaining along the way that she is an alien/human hybrid that he created but then took to raise as his own when he realized the research he was a part of was wrong.  In Mexico, though, is his former colleague and the one man who may be able to save her as her DNA seems to be tearing itself apart.

The setup of this film is solid and the principle acting is pretty strong for a straight to video release.  Once in Mexico, things get messy.  Dr. McGuire (Dominic Keating) has been creating more of the hybrids for various purposes.  Some have escaped into town, with motives of their own, but this storyline is left unexplored.  Confronted with what she is, Miranda wants to return home to face what she did, setting up an interesting “nature vs. nurture” exploration of the human condition as her human half conflicts with her alien half (also, largely unexplored).  Instead, the film devolves into an off and on cat-and-mouse game with Azura (Marlene Favela), McGuire’s hybrid bodyguard, a bloody rampage through the streets and an alien showdown.  So, basically all of the interesting plot points are set up and forgotten in lieu of a generic alien invasion film.  The twisted eroticism that was such a hallmark of the earlier films is also poorly rendered here: highlighting the fine line between eroticism and naked chicks.  The females still want to reproduce, but the fantastic alien sexual imagery that marked the first two films is replaced with hot naked chicks writhing on guys and skewering them.

The disappointment of the second act really bogs the whole thing down, as this could have been a good film – stronger than the previous sequels, despite the different storyline.  Instead, it falls victim to the same trap that ensnares so many sequels, becoming a pale caricature of its source material.

Stars: 2.5/5

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