Virus (1999)

virus poster 1999 movie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Some of the robots were cool

Predictable, stock characters

Movie Info

Movie Name: Virus

Studio:  Mutual Film Company/Universal Pictures/Dark Horse Entertainment

Genre(s): Comic Book/Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  January 15, 1999

MPAA Rating: R

virus jamie lee curtis robot

I’ve fought much worse guys than you

The Sea Star has lost its cargo during a hurricane, but when Captain Robert Everton (Donald Sutherland) and his crew find a derelict Akademik Vladislav Volkov in the eye of the hurricane, they realize it could be a massive payday.  Unfortunately, there is something is on the ship, and navigator Kelly Foster (Jamie Lee Curtis) worries that the captain has been blinded by the potential bounty.  An alien is on the ship, and it wants to get off.

Directed by John Bruno, Virus is a science fiction horror comic book movie.  The film is an adaptation of the Dark Horse Comics limited series Virus #1-4 (December 1993-March 1994).  The film was met with negative reviews but gained a cult following over the years.

Virus looked like a clunker when it was released and despite loving horror movies, I didn’t see it (I’m also not a huge “machines are enemies” and scary fan).  Watching it over twenty years later, Virus isn’t as clunky as I thought, but it also isn’t very dynamic or interesting.

virus donald sutherland robot

Maybe you should let Keifer keep the action roles…

The movie kind of goes the way you expect it to go.  Sutherland’s captain is already unbalanced, Curtis is already the hero, and mistakes start being made immediately (“let’s split up on this abandoned ship”).  The concern of where the Russians are and why they abandoned a multimillion dollar ship seems really downplayed and the idea that there could have been some sort of biological weapon or radiation leak also doesn’t seem to concern the crew.  When the robot/robot-hybrids begin to pick them off, it still doesn’t feel as urgent…even if they are human as they believe.  It feels like a blend of all the types of alien-trapped-in-a-ship movies from Alien to Leviathan…it isn’t distinctive just because they made them alien robots.

The cast is good.  Jamie Lee Curtis does her best Ellen Ripley as the rule following Foster.  Sutherland overplays his role (which isn’t uncommon for him) and his accent that he’s trying to impose on the character comes and goes.  William Baldwin is rather bland as the co-lead, and many of the supporting cast including Marshall Bell get picked off before they can develop.  I do generally like Cliff Curtis and was glad to see his character have more screentime than others.

virus alien robot monster ending

The face only a motherboard could love…

The robots and robot hybrids are ok, and I’m imagining with the smaller budget that they are good as they could have been.  I like that many are practical and still manage to be looming and dangerous.  The robot kind of reminds me of the robot from Hardware, but I wish they had some steely scares more like the Terminator at points.

Virus isn’t long, and it isn’t a complete bore which is a plus for the movie.  There are only couple ways the movie can end and the ending is as you’d expect which doesn’t help the story.  People trapped at sea is like a variation on the “old dark house”, and I occasionally like that slight variety.  Virus underwhelms, but it isn’t a movie you can hate at the same time.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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