Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 98 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Written by David Webb Peoples (UNFORGIVEN, SOLDIER, BLADE RUNNER). Starring Peter Weller (BUCKAROO BANZAI, NAKED LUNCH, ROBOCOP), Ernie Hudson (THE SUBSTITUTE, GHOSTBUSTERS), Richard Crenna (RAMBO, UN FLIC), Amanda Pays (MAX HEADROOM), Daniel Stern (HOME ALONE, narrator on THE WONDER YEARS), Hector Elizando (PRETTY WOMAN, AMERICAN GIGOLO), Meg Foster (THEY LIVE, STEPFATHER II). Music by Jerry Goldsmith (CHINATOWN, ALIEN, RAMBO). Special effects by Stan Winston (PREDATOR, THE TERMINATOR, JURASSIC PARK).
Tag-line: "Welcome to your worst nightmare, welcome to Leviathan." (...Butt-horn?)
Best one-liner: "Say 'Ahhh,' motherfucker!"
"That's JUST great! You tellin' me we got a god damn Dracula in here with us?" Like its human-absorbing, hybrid fish-creature star, LEVIATHAN is a film built entirely from pre-existing components. Everything here, we've seen before, be it in THE THING or ALIEN or THE ABYSS. We've already seen Peter Weller (ROBOCOP) and Ernie Hudson (GHOSTBUSTERS) hoist gigantic futuristic weapons around.
Daniel Stern (HOME ALONE) opens soda cans with his mouth and is always talkin' about how much he'd like the female crew members to sit on his face. There's the British woman (Amanda Pays) who requires no character development, because her accent already tells us that she's a quick-witted expert of some kind. We got Richard Crenna (FIRST BLOOD) sitting in front of an ancient monitor, shaking his head at some statistics, EXACTLY like Wilford Brimley does in THE THING.
The creature even drains the blood supply! We've got a nefarious corporate master played by the evil chick from THEY LIVE.
And it's a cautionary tale: the chain of events (that causes slavering, mutating monsters to emerge) all starts with a practical joke and some purloined booze. Somehow that's even worse than the Jason movies, where sex begets death. Jokin' around equals death? Jeez! Cut us some slack!
Anyway, I don't think I've yet mentioned that I really enjoyed this movie. Like ACTION JACKSON or UNDER SIEGE, you don't really care that it's completely unoriginal. Plus our eel-man comes courtesy of FX master Stan Winston, and the screenplay's by David Webb Peoples (BLADE RUNNER, UNFORGIVEN, TWELVE MONKEYS), so clearly this isn't really catering to the least common denominator. And Weller is great.
Wearing a hot pink and blue trucker hat, he exudes layers of 'performance' (as an actor in the film, and pretending to be a 'tough as nails captain-type' for the benefit of his crew), and ends the film by punching a woman in the face. Only you can get away with that kinda thing, Pete. Four stars.