Mimic (15)

Directed by Guillermo Del Torro
Starring Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Charles Dutton

Another addition to the monster/thriller genre that owes a huge amount to the Alien movies, with a bit of The Relic thrown in. Mira Sorvino is the scientist who helps to combat a cockroach plague by producing a new strain of cockroach called the Judas breed that attacks its own. After saving the day in the first 10 minutes, Sorvino thinks nothing more of her experiment. We cut forward three years as the bugs are on the move again. Sorvino's CDC(Center for Disease Control) husband (Northam) is investigating some strange outbreaks, while Sorvino finds some very unusual bugs in the sewers. So, its down to the old abandoned subways beneath the city they go along with reluctant cop Dutton, to encounter lots of goo and killer bugs that can mimic humans. Lots of blood and gore, running up and down tunnels, bug attacks, sacrifices etc etc. As you would expect, some die, some survive.
This is a very entertaining film of its type, although it is VERY derivative. Lets think of these familiar elements;
Strong female lead(Alien), fast moving deadly creatures who seem to dribble a lot(Alien), dark tunnels and people running around a lot(Aline, The Relic, Event Horizon, most thriller/monster films), female lead saving disturbed child(Aliens), the need to find and destroy the nest to save humanity(Aliens), gory deaths for a few of the lesser stars(just about every film of this type), Charles Dutton sacrificing himself to save our heroes(Alien 3)- sorry about that little spoiler, but I think you get the idea.
However, this is not to say that Mimic is no good. Indeed, director Del Torro handles the action well, and keeps the tension high. I haven't seen it but his other film Cronos was supposed to be creepy and odd. However, this is a formulaic film. It puches all the right buttons and will appeal to fans of this sort of film. Sorvino does well, she is no mere screaming female, and disputed with the men who is more qualified at one point. Northam struggles a bit with the accent, but is fine in a slightly bland way. Charles Dutton is a fine character actor who replays Alien 3 basically. He also gets to moan and swear a lot so I guess he had fun. The film looks good, with suitable disgusting bugs. However the mimic part of their repertoire was a bit lame. I think the idea of bugs being able to mimic humans was probably the big selling point for the script writers when they were pitching it, but the actual effect was harder to do convincingly. Fairly good, quite exciting and plenty of hide your eyes thrills, just not terribly original. 6/10.

June 1998

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