Yet another entry in the never-ending cycle of man-made laboratory catastrophes, this bio-thriller is a routine frightfest jump-started by spectacular stunt work. As an action hero, however, ex-football player Brian Bosworth acts as if he were sitting out the game on the bench.
Patriotic Secret Serviceman Ken Fairchild (Brian Bosworth) diligently guards President J. L. Wheeler (Stephen Markle) as he prepares for a World Eco-Conference at Thermal Wells National Park, Oregon. Meanwhile, all hell breaks loose at Prodichem Military Lab after an accident involving a
bio-warfare virus results in a deadly cover-up by facility director, George Skanz (David Fox). Without presidential authority, Wheeler's right-wing aide, Eric Black (Eric Peterson), has already established a viral strike force program without sufficient safeguards. Tracked down by Skanz and
Black's operatives, Prodichem scientist Alex Bur (Patrick Galligan) plans to disrupt the World Eco-Conference with damaging evidence of the bio-program's instability. Although Alex pays a drugged-up trucker, Ripley (Daniel Kash), to deliver a shipload of the dangerous bio-warfare material to the
conference, Skanz murders Alex before he can enlighten the liberal press about Prodichem Lab. Meanwhile, substance-abuser Ripley crashes his deadly cargo with devastating results for Oregon and the world.
Thrust into the spill's aftermath, Fairchild convinces Ripley and local doctor Larraine Keller (Leah Pinsent) to try to stem the contagion, even as Skanz attempts to protect the president's reputation by eliminating any witnesses. Made immune by the common cold, Fairchild, Ripley, and Keller don't
join the wave of casualties felled by the plague. Tipped off by Alex before he was killed, Fairchild's reporter-buddy, Leo (Chuck Shamata), travels to the conference site, but gets killed by Skanz; fortunately, he leaves behind Alex's incriminating data for Fairchild. Prior to the conference
kick-off, Fairchild blasts Skanz away in a geyser valley and prevents Skanz's plan to extend the range of the virus. Disillusioned upon learning that the president did nothing to put a lid on Black's viral experimentation folly, Fairchild blows the whistle to the media and dismantles the power
base of the president and his xenophobic advisor, Black.
Conspiracy thrillers have a long, honorable tradition in American movies, but flicks like this one that proceed on the assumption that our government hierarchy is staffed by trigger-happy fascists fall apart quickly. Silken deception and quick-wittedness are requisites for high office; bungling
eager beavers like Skanz and Black couldn't possibly ascend past the crooked alderman stage.
Basically, VIRUS is about a big, strapping lummox who saves the world while assaulted by the triple plague of malaise-inducing plot-padding, debilitating deja vu, and feverish overplaying by supporting players and extras hoping to get noticed. Fans of muscular action will enjoy Bosworth's
athleticism even if the script talks his anti-viral strategy to death. Viewers may feel as if the infected plague survivors have come down with a case of boring dialogue that could prove fatal to the audience. (Extreme profanity, graphic violence, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: Yet another entry in the never-ending cycle of man-made laboratory catastrophes, this bio-thriller is a routine frightfest jump-started by spectacular stunt work. As an action hero, however, ex-football player Brian Bosworth acts as if he were sitting out… (more)