Supernova

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Supernova

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Supernova

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Walter Hill is one of the guiding forces behind the Alien movies, having produced and/or co-written all four films, so at least he has more of a right than most to rip off the venerable series. Unfortunately, his Supernova (from which he removed his name, the directing credit ultimately assigned to the mysterious "Thomas Lee"), isn't even a good Alien knockoff. Set in a dystopian future in which everyone wears unflattering unisex uniforms and sports the same atrocious butch haircut, Supernova follows a medical ship that runs across an abandoned mine with one survivor, creepy treasure hunter Peter Facinelli. The world-weary crew also stumbles upon some mysterious matter from the ninth dimension, which the ship's robot claims possesses some serious metaphysical voodoo, yet seems to do little more than turn Facinelli into a superhuman asshole. Like too many dreary, snappily titled science-fiction epics ignominiously dumped on an unwitting public (Sphere, Virus), Supernova takes a theoretically interesting metaphysical premise and abandons it early on in favor of countless scenes in which its space baddie clumsily chases its heroes through a large, empty spaceship. For a big-budget studio film, Supernova looks and feels cheap, like a late-period Roger Corman movie inexplicably released to theaters. Everything about it looks ugly: The lighting is dim and murky, the set design uniformly generic, and the cast filmed as unflatteringly as possible. Some genuinely talented actors (James Spader, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster) are wasted in nondescript roles, and an unforgivable amount of screen time is allotted to the awful Facinelli, who plays what may be the least charismatic cinematic sociopath of the past decade. Hill bailed out on Supernova too late to be spared some of the blame, but moviegoers should learn from the director and avoid it altogether.

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