December 9th, 2002  |  Published in Uncategorized

I racked my brain trying to remember why I liked this movie after rewatching about 90% of it last night before deciding conversation with my co-viewers would be more fun. It occurs to me that the first time I ever saw it, it was the only thing playing at the PX movie theater some weekend while I was in Korea. So it gets a 2.5 because I remember it better than it plays now, which is worth .5 or so.

The plot involves a gate to another planet, people with guns, a big bomb, the guy from The Crying Game (proving that playing a drag queen won’t kill your career, but playing an Egyptian space-child star-pharoah might), and some “cow-like creature slobber” humor.

We get Kurt Russell’s signification of “torment” and “soulfulness” (he lifts a psychic finger now and then, to wiggle that he’s still alive under his attempt at “smoldering but cold”). We also get a flustered and bookish James Spader, who manages to make “charmingly addled” repulsive and frustrating.

Whatever it was I liked when I first saw this, I can’t remember it now, though I suspect it had something to do with the space Egyptians or the fact that Kurt Russell’s hair almost warranted a uniform of its own. Maybe the added material of the “special edition” on the DVD made it drag on too much, elevating it from “fast B-grade romp” to “slow, awful wallow.” In a living room, it comes off as loud and small: much better suited to the weekly series it has become.

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