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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.25%
Worth A Look: 27.08%
Average: 4.17%
Pretty Bad: 25%
Total Crap37.5%

3 reviews, 30 user ratings

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Relic, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Could've been more fun."
2 stars

I have a soft spot for movies with credit listings for "Kothoga operators," so I'm tempted to go easier on 'The Relic' than I probably should.

"Kothoga" -- which I think is African for "cheesy horror flick" -- is the name of The Relic's gigantic whatsit of a monster, a mutated stew of parts from a beetle, a gekko, a tiger, and a human being. There are other animals in the mix, but what discriminating viewers need to know is that it rips heads off real good.

The Relic sounds like a classic beer-and-pizza movie -- a lowbrow monster mash with high-tech gloss. Regular readers know I'm a pushover for this stuff. So it pains me to confess that, aside from the spectacularly ugly Kothoga (a creation of monster-making genius Stan Winston), the movie isn't much good. If you're predisposed to like this movie, you've seen all the films it rips off (and rips off without irony, too).

The overly top-heavy plot is just an excuse to set the beast loose on a bunch of stupid people. The Chicago Museum of Natural History has received some crates with exotic bacteria tucked inside. The bacteria mutate into the Kothoga (I love writing that), which goes on a rampage during the museum's black-tie exhibit of superstition-related artifacts. Many stupid people in tuxedoes and gowns are relieved of their heads.

Tom Sizemore, as the superstitious cop D'Agosta (whose name everybody mispronounces), is set up as the hero, but he doesn't end up doing much. If you saw him for the first time in The Relic, you'd never know what an intriguing actor he can be -- in Natural Born Killers, for instance, or Strange Days. The real hero is Penelope Ann Miller as the evolutionary biologist Margo Green, who figures out a way to defeat the Kothoga. As in her other movies, Miller's biggest worry is not the monster so much as the tight dress she's always on the verge of falling out of. Put some clothes on this woman.

The Relic was directed by Peter Hyams, a competent journeyman taking a break from his Van Damme movies. Hyams is good at building dumb tension -- knee-jerk suspense you can't help responding to, even though you know exactly what's coming and when. Problem is, most of this stuff was perfected in the Alien series and the first Predator, and you can only watch so many decapitations before you start wishing that the Kothoga (or Hyams) were more inventive.

The movie's problems may originate in the hefty soruce novel by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I haven't read it, but here are some blurbs from the paperback cover: "Jaws takes Manhattan." "What might happen if a creature from Jurassic Park came to New York City." (Obviously Hyams relocated the story to the Windy City.) "Part Jaws, part Poseidon Adventure." See the pattern? If even the book was hyped in this crude Hollywood-pitch language, how could the movie be anything but derivative?

You may wonder why 'The Relic' is set in a prestigious (fictional) museum. Simple, really. If it were set anywhere else, this movie about Kothoga the head-hunting monster just wouldn't be classy.

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originally posted: 01/09/07 13:45:47
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell not bad monster movie 4 stars
4/07/10 action movie fan scary claustrophobic monster in museum-effect5ive alien like shocker-better than the rating 4 stars
7/21/07 ben dover fucking great fuck off the rest of you losers 5 stars
1/10/07 del Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrap!!! 1 stars
8/12/05 ES Oh the boook was so much better, they didn't even include special agent Pendergast= tragic 2 stars
1/06/05 R.W. Welch By-the-numbers monster flick starts well enough but gets steadily sappier and cliche'd. 2 stars
8/20/04 Jimmy Script is only a notch above genre schlock, but the monster is great. Underrated. 4 stars
3/27/04 ROY L. CAIN,JR. All horror aside, Penelope Ann Miller looked good in that dress. GRRRRRR! 5 stars
11/28/03 HorrorScribbler A few cheap thrills, some unintentional hilarity. Miller looks good in a cocktail dress. 3 stars
9/09/03 Buck Entertaining and slick for the monster movie buff 4 stars
5/23/03 Danny Spectacular horror monster movie 5 stars
3/09/03 Jack Sommersby A formulaic rendering of a brilliant book. A rare misstep for Peter Hyams. 2 stars
1/29/03 Charles Tatum As boring as a real museum tour 1 stars
3/23/02 Steve Mackey Read the book, saw the movie. Another case of Hollywood screwing up a good story. 1 stars
2/06/02 Andrew Carden The Ending Was Very Memorable...The Plot Was Weird Though. 4 stars
10/23/01 Sthenno Really good directing and the effects make The Relic memorable. I love Chicago in turmoil! 4 stars
1/13/01 The Evil Penguin I LOVE YOU, TOTAL CRAPERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
9/05/00 Terrie Smith Waste of time with this one; hasn't got a hell of a lot going for it. 2 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski Only marginally scary, with a definite undernote of cheese, but still a nice try. 4 stars
1/19/00 Jedi15 A big monster stalks a bunch of helpless people in the dark. Can we say "Alien" ripoff? 1 stars
5/31/99 robert williams Go Swans said it was "scary" I say "it sucked" 1 stars
5/10/99 Ah Dooey no comment 1 stars
11/24/98 Fred WHAT THE FUCK? Tom, Tom, Tom!!! Thank your lucky stars for Pvt. Ryan!!!!!!! 1 stars
10/29/98 Bad Kosh I agree with you guys. Skip it. A waste of our money. 1 stars
9/18/98 Badass "YOU GO TO HELL!" Shitty dialoge. So-so excitement. Basic, but okay. 3 stars
9/06/98 Kid Pee-Pee What kind of crappy try-hard monster was that?! 1 stars
8/23/98 James McCauley The previews made this look like a suspense thriller. It wasn't. 1 stars
8/16/98 {{{OZ}}} I'm with Johny, this was shite. How did it make big money? 1 stars
8/16/98 Johny damn the first 45 minutes were boring, and the ending sucked too 2 stars
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  10-Jan-1997 (R)
  DVD: 19-Aug-2003



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