A large reptile mutated by French nuclear tests in the Polynesian Islands goes on vacation in NYC.
What I Liked
Matthew Broderick (playing Nick Tatopoulos) adds another genre to his list of acting credits (following War Games, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Biloxi Blues, etc.) and takes on the role of the disrespected scientist who knows all about radiation effects on all creatures great and small because he has been studying mutated worms in Chernobyl. The special effects are pretty good (covering underground, undersea, heart of NYC, etc.), and there is something somewhat more menacing about this big dumb creature than the smaller but far more intelligent raptors from Jurassic Park. And the scene at the start where three fishing trawlers are destroyed is far more interesting than anything seen during the sinking of James Cameron’s Titanic (with the possible exception of the propeller guy). Although this movie is not an actor’s dream, Matthew Broderick does a good job and seems more comfortable in front of the camera than usual. Jean Reno (playing outside “investigator” Philippe Roche) is the best of the supporting actors and he steals a couple of really good scenes. Hank Azaria (of sitcom fame like Herman’s Head) is surprisingly good as the cameraman, Animal.
What I Didn’t Like
The sub-storyline is Nick’s reunion with his college sweetheart Audrey Timmonds (played by Maria Pitillo) — an aspiring reporter who left him after college to tackle New York and who really wants this story as her big break. Standard fluff for the movie and no real sparks between the two of them — more like old friends running into each other on the street. Pitillo is poor generally, with some really bad lines and some really terrible scenes where she’s trying (but failing) to act upset. Other times you almost even care what happens to her — almost, but not quite. One downside to the special effects is common in many movies of this type…most of the action takes place at night — in fact, there is not one single shot of the creature in good light and the efforts to stop him are hampered by the fact that it rains the entire “week”.