The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

THE PUPPET MASTERS (1994) ** ½

Fans of 50’s sci-fi should enjoy this flick, based on the novel by Robert A. Heinlein that features bits and pieces from Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Brain Eaters, and It Conquered the World.  Even though Heinlein wrote the book before all of those films were released, this was the first belated “official” adaptation, so it only seemed like a retread.  A lot of filmmakers may have cherry-picked most of Heinlein’s best ideas, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking this one out.

 

Aliens that look like slimy manta rays land in a small Iowa town and attach themselves onto the townsfolk’s backs and plug their tails into their host’s brain so they can take over their minds.  Government agent Donald Sutherland rolls into town with his son (Eric Thal) and a sexy doctor (Julie Warner from Doc Hollywood) in tow to stop their numbers from spreading.  When Thal becomes an alien host, Sutherland zaps the little bugger off of his back to cure him.  Now that he’s playing ball for the good guys again, Thal helps his pops to infiltrate the alien’s hive and destroy them once and for all. 

 

The Puppet Masters suffers from uneven pacing and one too many lame finales but it does have one or two moments of invention to make it more than just a sum of its parts.  The scene where the infected townspeople attack Sutherland and company is priceless, and the way he fends them off with his walking stick is great.  My favorite scene though was when one of the alien parasites got loose in Sutherland’s office.  He couldn’t tell which one of his co-workers had the alien on ‘em so Big Don tells everyone to take off their shirt.  Even the women.  Sutherland’s probably looking at a couple of sexual harassment suits but that’s okay though.  Man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. 

 

The experienced cast (which includes Keith David, Will Patton, Richard Belzer, Andrew Robinson and Yaphet Kotto) equips themselves nicely and look like they’re having fun.  Most of the cool stuff is weighted towards the film’s first half hour or so, and things get rather dull as the film plods on to its predictable conclusion, but the “hive” sequence is pretty cool.  It’s not in the same league as Abel Ferrara’s Body Snatchers remake from the same year, but so what?  There are plenty of worse alien invasion flicks out there you can waste your time with. 

Tags: p, sci-fi
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