May 24, 2017
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'Life' Review

Just like 1979’s Alien but with less Sigourney Weaver

March 24, 2017, 1:05 pm

Director Daniel Espinosa’s (Safe House) new science fiction thriller, Life, follows six absurdly attractive astronauts attempting to control a celestial life-form. After recovering dirt samples from Mars, the team discovers a rapidly evolving single-cell organism unlike any intergalactic inhabitant ever seen. The malevolent Martian begins to fight back against its captors with gnarly open-mouth kisses and floating spacecraft bloodshed. This film’s ever-evolving extraterrestrial assassin will surely make you glad you’re seated safely on Earth, maybe for the first time since election night.

Before you write off this film as a shiny new imitation of Ridley Scott’s creation spawned by money-hungry Hollywood executives, don’t let the pretty-faced playboys, Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), stifle an otherwise intense and entertaining movie; the acting is surprisingly impressive, the effects are outstanding and the sound cues will surely have you on the edge of your seat screaming, “Kill it with Fire!”

Though Espinosa may exploit the same basic storyline and similar shock elements of precursor sci-fi flicks, these inspirations further Life’s excellence rather than mangle its predecessors’ iconic, suspenseful style. Similar to the Xenomorph in Alien, this creature, lovingly referred to as Calvin, grows into a murderous squid-like desperado throughout the film, proving one of Life’s more horrifying lessons: Don’t screw with aliens.

Espinosa does pick up extra credit for including underappreciated international stars like Hiroyuki Sanada (Game of Chance), Rebecca Ferguson (The Girl on the Train), Olga Dihovichnaya (Twilight Portrait) and Ariyon Bakare (The Dark Knight), rather than center on the survival of one character. That being said, by the end of the film, Hugh Derry (played by Bakare) will probably go down in movie history as the worst fictional astro-scientist. Turns out, when you are emotionally invested in more than one character, it makes the inevitable internalization of “Who’s going to make it out alive?!” even more unbearable. The last five minutes of the movie alone make the film worth the down payment necessary for popcorn and a small soda.


9
+ Ryan Reynolds’ smarmy wit; intergalactic battle royale
- space is scary; no ugly astronauts



 

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