FIRST THING’S first: I am not fond of monster films. You can keep me seated during a horror film marathon—be it as hair-raising as “Ringu” (which, by the way, is the Japanese title of The Ring) or as lame as the Thai horror movie, “Alone”—but you can never make me watch a film with aliens and weird-looking creatures in it. Even the cute “Monsters, Inc.” is no exception. Aliens and monsters are just not my type. So imagine my cringing while watching “DNA”.
“DNA” is directed by William Mesa, starring Mark Dacascos alongside familiar faces such as Thomas Taus, Susan Africa and Joel Torre. Set in the deep jungle of North Borneo, a group of scientists unearth the bones of an extraterrestrial being, known to the locals as the demonic creature Balacau. The leader of the escapade, Dr. Carl Wessinger, who learned how to extract DNA from the bones, asks Dr. Ash Mattley to help him retrieve enzymes needed to recreate the creature. However, Dr. Wessinger double-crosses Dr. Mattley, and begins his selfish plan. After two years, the recreated Balacau is deemed to be running wild in the jungle, killing everybody. Dr. Wessinger is set to capturing the beast in order to sell this possible weapon of mass destruction to the highest bidder, while Claire Sommers, a CIA agent, together with Dr. Mattley is set to killing the beast that should not have been recreated in the first place.
For frequent moviegoers, the similarities of “DNA” to previous sci-fi films cannot be unseen. The movie is accused of being a rip-off of more commercially successful movies such as Pumpkinhead, Aliens, Predators, and Jurassic Park. On the other hand, some say “DNA” is a tribute of some sort to the sci-fi movies mentioned. In “DNA”, the recreation of Balacau is reminiscent of the corpses-slash-bones-to-life plot of “Pumpkinhead” and “Jurassic Park”, Balacau would pass as the long lost brother of Alien in James Cameron’s “Aliens”, and his abilities—namely, thermal vision and invisibility—echo the creature of “Predator”. What “DNA” did is nothing close to coincidental, so it can only be a choice between ripping-off and paying tribute.
In the movie, Dr. Wessinger replicated the DNA of Balacau. It is interesting to note that similarly, this movie replicated scenes and plot devices from other movies, as if that very detail which started the ball rolling is a comment on the movie itself.
Monsters? No, please.
I don’t like monsters, and that’s a given fact. The aversion is not coming from a true-to-life experience (for obvious reasons) but from the mere fact that I don’t enjoy watching violence in general. “DNA” is violent from start to end (and Balacau-filled at that), which explains why I do not like this movie so much.
However, there is another reason why I wouldn’t even think of watching this movie a second time. There are too many inconsistencies in it; even the least critical of the audience won’t miss such details. Take, for example, Balacau’s supposed weakness, which is light. The flash from Sommer’s camera saved them from a near-death encounter with the demon, but in later scenes we see the alien roaming the jungle in broad daylight.
For all it’s worth, it should be mentioned that this movie is not without good points. For one, the movie is highly entertaining because of the substandard CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) used to animate Balacau. But for a low-budget B-movie, one really shouldn’t expect so much, especially since it was produced over a decade ago, before the peak of technological advancement of special effects in films.
Thankfully, the fast-paced nature of the film did not give way for unnecessary scenes to be included. And although there were subtle implications of a possible love story, it is with relief that the movie did not end with a kiss, a cliché that is almost always present in every action movie such as “DNA”.
Do Not Attempt
…to watch this film. Unless you are required in class. Or you are bored and it is the only DVD within reach. Or you are required to write a review of it (thus, this review). Otherwise, do yourself a favor and save your precious time by watching a far more worthwhile movie. Because not even the adorable Tom Taus is reason enough to watch this movie, and really, the audience is wise enough to recognize that the movie was filmed in the Philippines, not in North Borneo.
Rating: [1 Patrick Star]