“A more appropriate title – Valium: Feel the Pillow”
I’m still trying to work out what the title actually means; it certainly bears no relevance to the film. More generaly, the biggest point of interest is its similarity to Blade 2, which took the basic concept (hunt for the carrier of a virus that turns its victim into bald, psychotic bloodsuckers) and did a lot more with its Eastern European setting. Henstridge is Delon, a policewoman who has her partner dismembered while they search a house, and Lambert leads the backup team – they follow their target into some vents which connect to an old prison, and where they rapidly become the prey. All this is set just outside a post-apocalyptic (plague, specifically) Boston – though the cop cars have ‘POLICIA’ on them. There’s also a subplot about Delon’s son, and a black-market passport she bought for him, which is of no significance whatsoever, and is probably there only to get the running time up to feature length (and at 76 minutes, only barely!).
Shot in what looks like four rooms, it’s up to director Pyun to make the most of a higher-profile cast than he usually manages – unfortunately, he fails, though I liked the snap-zoom technique applied to bullet hits. This is straightforward ‘spam in a tunnel’ cinema, with little tension, character, or anything else that might elevate this above the mundane. Henstridge, bless her, does what she can, and comes over like a grubby version of Lara Croft; her undeniable action heroine potential has so far been wasted in stuff like this or the lame She Spies. Partly shot in the capital of Herzegovina, Mostar, the “just-bombed” look is likely genuine, from a conflict that only ended the previous year; it may be exploitative, but at least Pyun brought employment to the locals. I imagine he’s now scouting locations in Kabul and Baghdad.
Dir: Albert Pyun
Star: Natasha Henstridge, Christopher Lambert, Norbert Weisser, Elizabeth Barondes