Daniel Espinosa's sci-fi thriller Life is not without a few dull moments. The idea of the crew of the International Space Station researching samples from the planet Mars is sound, and with a telling title which recalls Ridley Scott's Alien; the comparisons do not stop there. After a slow start, this film gets morbidly fascinating, and I was left looking for clues if a rumour created over at comicbook.com is true. Unless the creative team want to rewrite a lot about how the symbiote works, the answer is no. This movie is not a precursor to Sony's Venom movie which is currently in development.
Without giving too much away, just what the team of scientists find show that the fourth planet away from the Sun is not a dead world.
Although stripped of an atmosphere and it is a desert-like world, something can still survive on it and live in dormancy, until explorers land on it. In what Dr. David Jordan (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the team find, nobody on Earth will hear you scream and unless protocols are in place, nobody on this planet will send a shuttle up to the station to save you! In a classic cabin-in-the-woods scenario, what's unleashed will get you! The dramatic tension is quite good, as I was left wondering who is next.
The order of importance is cliche. For once, I like to see the ethnic guy get it last than first, but hey, at least Rory Adams (Ryan Reynolds) bit it second. He had moments to remind us he is Deadpool and went in guns (well, soldering utensils) blazing to deal with the threat because he had an idea of what's going to happen next. Sho Murakami (Hiroyuki Sanada), Miranda North (Rebecca Ferguson), Ekaterina Golovkina (Olga Dihovichnaya) and Hugh Derry (Ariyon Bakare) make up the rest of the team. Each of them is a specialist and as each of them bites the dust, so does the chance of a successful rescue — like that was an option!
Coming out of this film, I'm left to wonder what's to happen next? A sequel is unlikely, and this movie is being released on weeks before the upcoming Alien: Covenant. This film is only whetting my appetite for what I hope is Ridley Scott's return to form. Danny McBride is set to appear in this tale and affirms the fact this upcoming movie will be dark horror.
Life plays with the idea, but it's nowhere near as shocking as Scott's film which inspired it. At least for this movie, I'm glad the creature designers steered away from the humanoid form. I'm tired of seeing films which assume the best threats have to be bipedal. In space, the sky's the limit and perhaps the greatest danger can be small as an ant to start. At least with this movie, we are being taught to question everything non-terrestrial.
Overall: 6 out of 10.
Ed Sum has his own Blog at: Ed Sum at Otaku No Culture
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