Saturday, April 24, 2010

'The Hidden' should be found by viewers

The Hidden (1987)
Starring: Michael Nouri, Kyle MacLachlan, Claudia Christian
Director: Jack Sholder
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

There's a serial killer/robber on the loose... he loves fast cars, loud music, and over-the-top violence. A homicide detective (Michael Nouri) manages to end the madman's killing spree, but then ANOTHER equally violent crook pops up. A young, soft-spoken FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan) appears and reveals that he has been tracking these criminals, claiming that they change identities frequently. The two team up to end the mayhem once and for all.

The killer in the film is actually a disgusting alien criminal that leaps from body to body, and MacLachlan is actually ANOTHER alien who likewise leaps from body to body, but he is a cop, or at the very least a vigilante, who has been tracking the murderous creature across space for many years. 'The Hidden' is the tale of their final confrontation.

The above paragraph does not spoil the film--at this late date in the history of sci-fi/action films, it's exactly the sort of thing that we've come to expect from this sort of film. However, 'The Hidden' delivers all the standard elements with far more skill, grace, and craftsmanship. The performances delivered by the actors are top-notch, the script is tight and the dialogue is sharp and well-done, and the use of all the standard sci-fi and action film elements are extremely well-executed. Even the car chases and other action scenes--which often emerge as the weakest points of movies featuring this mix of elements and set in the modern day--are top-notch and better than several more well-known films of this type. What's more, the scenes and exchanges intended to be funny actually are funny, something else many films of this kind fail to pull off.

Another fantastic aspect of this movie is that the main characters--and even a couple of the minor ones--emerge as fully realized personalities that the viewer can't help but care about. Nouri's tough-as-nails homicide detective with a tranquil home life, and MacLachlan's fish-out-water pretend FBI agent with a tragic past make both a good team as well as an interesting contract (both in the action and humorous portions of the film) and the friendship that develops between them is highly believable. And it makes the movie's denouement both creepy and touching at the same time.

I think this is a film that any lover of sci-fi and/or action movies MUST see. (If you can find it. It's been out of print for a while.)

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