Endangered Species (2003)

Endangered Species starts as a city lives in fear, a city in fear of a serial killer who has claimed dozens of victims already. Lieutenant Mike ‘Sully’ Sullivan (Eric Roberts) & Lieutenant Wyznowski (John Rhys-Davies) are on the case but the only connecting factor is that all the killings have thus far took place in health or fitness clubs. The elusive killer has potentially made a mistake though as he left a witness alive at his last massacre, while visiting her in hospital Sully spots a mysterious guy (Arnold Vosloo) talking to her who runs away when challenged. Positive that the guy is involved with the killings Sully chases & catches him but he isn’t prepared for what he will eventually discover. The guy is an alien space warden assigned to look after the human race from intergalactic poachers like the one killing people in the city & taking their skins to turn into alien clothes. Sully & the alien guy team up to stop the alien hunter…

Written & directed by Kevin Tenney one has to say that this low budget rip-off of The Hidden (1987) & Dark Angel (1990) turned out a lot better than I was expecting, it ain’t no masterpiece but provides some cheap & sometimes amusing sci-fi horror action entertainment. Endangered Species isn’t that original & falls into the human cop vs alien killer type sub genre & as I say it’s not too bad for it’s type. The character’s are OK, the alien guy’s are rather underdeveloped but the mismatched double team of cops & regular B-Movie stars Eric Roberts & John Rhys-Davies play off each other quite nicely & there are one or two amusing moments between them. The story about an alien killing human beings for the skin to make jumpers out of could have been rather fun but the film tends to take itself a little bit too seriously & that plot comes across as too simplistic as the skinning & making jumpers & coats angle is largely ignored & a much more standard & forgettable serial killer on the loose approach is taken. The pace isn’t too bad & there’s a surprising amount of action & set-pieces from car chases, explosions, fights, shoot-outs & a couple of massacres, while none of it’s particularly big budget or spectacular it kept me entertained & I reckon there’s fun to be had here if your in the right mood which I evidently was.

I was a little disappointed in the gore levels here, apart from some gunshot wounds & a few dead bodies there isn’t any. The action is pretty good with the highlight being an impressive car chase as Sully & the alien guy chase an invisible van through the traffic in a sequence with a fair amount of stunts & exploding cars. There is also a sequence in which the near invincible alien hunter enters a police station systematically going through it shooting all the cops in a scene which plays like a homage or rip-off (whichever way you look at it) to the similar scene in The Terminator (1984). There’s some gratuitous nudity too if that’s your thing, the opening sequence in particular features a blonde with big breast’s taking a shower. For a few minutes.

Although set in the US this was shot on location in Vilnius in Lithuania, the film does have a slightly cheap made-for-telly look about it but not as cheap a some low budget horror films I have seen recently that look like they were shot on a camcorder. There’s a good B-Movie cast here including the prolific Eric Roberts, Arnold Vosloo who went from The Mummy Returns (2001) to this & of course John Rhys-Davies who provides the comic relief.

Endangered Species is a half decent little sci-fi action horror thriller that does at least provide sporadic moments of fun & entertainment throughout & overall passes the time harmlessly enough if your in the right mood.