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The Invader Reviews

STARMAN (1983) meets THE TERMINATOR (1984) in this terminally uneventful straight-to-video title. The alien Renn (Ben Cross) crash-lands his ship in Washington state, while a pursuing extraterrestrial craft is struck down by lightning. Renn tracks down infertile schoolteacher Annie Nielsen (Sean Young). Annie is estranged from her cop boyfriend, Jack Logan (Daniel Baldwin), because she's not interested in adopting children. At a nightclub, Renn passionately kisses Annie and departs; after collapsing the next day, Annie learns that she is over two months pregnant. That night, Renn kidnaps her, and Jack sets out in pursuit. The enemy alien, calling himself Willard (Nick Mancuso), joins Jack's team, claiming to be a bounty hunter and that Renn is a wanted criminal. Renn explains to Annie that he is among the last of a persecuted alien race, and that the baby she is carrying is necessary to propagate his kind. They begin to develop feelings for each other. Willard eventually shows his true colors, shoots several cops and attempts to kill Jack. On a tram to a mountaintop, Renn delivers Annie's baby; at the summit, he is attacked and mortally wounded by Willard before he electrocutes his enemy. As Jack arrives, Renn informs Annie that she can now have children, then dies, and his people arrive to spirit his body and the baby back into space. The problem with THE INVADER is not so much that it is derivative, but that it does so little with its borrowed parts. One waits in vain through its overlong running time for a truly imaginative twist or character quirk, and is ultimately left to wonder what led these good actors to take on such colorless parts. Each of the lead characters has only one distinctive trait: Annie is very vulnerable, Renn is very earnest, Jack is very determined, and Willard is very, very bad. Much of the film is concerned with little more than these people following each other through the forest, into a small town and back into the woods, interrupted by a rare affecting moment (as when Renn uses an alien device to allow Annie to see her rapidly developing baby). This is all a shame, as writer-director Mark Rosman made a stylish debut with THE HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1982) and was able to goose some excitement into the formulaic EVOLVER (1996). This time, his work is distinguished only by its predictability, and despite the copious stunt credits at the end, the action is routine and underwhelming. (Violence, sexual situations, profanity.)