Monday December 9, 1996
There's not much rush in Albert Pyun's "Adrenalin: Fear to Rush," a dull, apocalyptic would-be thriller. Pyun drives hard as a director but as a writer he hasn't nearly enough story to tell, although it is possible that his film, which clocks in at 77 minutes, has been trimmed.
Anyway, it's 2007 and there's been some sort of toxic chemical leakage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, and the so-called resulting "virulent microphage" has spread disease throughout Eastern Europe, apparently either killing people or turning them into psychopathic killers. As a result, the U.S. has started quarantining immigrants, who soon find it's nearly impossible to escape this limbo.
Quarantined in an abandoned, crumbling section of Boston, a young woman (Natasha Henstridge) has become a rookie cop but has all but given up hope of legally escaping the dangerous and derelict concentration camp. Meanwhile, she joins a veteran cop (Christopher Lambert) in a desperate pursuit of an infected man who has escaped a mental institution, and made his way into a vast system of tunnels under the quarantined area.
Once past this elaborate and vague setting-up of the story, "Adrenalin" becomes simply the cops' pursuit of the lethal crazy guy through a veritable catacomb of tunnels. Henstridge and Lambert work hard, but their roles are so one-dimensional and the entire film so contrived that "Adrenalin" defies you to pay attention to it.
Sections of Bratislava, Slovak Republic and apparently also Mostar, Bosnia, stand in for Boston ruins, which is quite a stretch, to put it mildly. The film's biggest plus is George Mooradian's shadowy, inventive camera work.
All told, "Adrenalin," which was not screened for critics, plays like an exceedingly pale carbon of John Carpenter's "Escape From New York" and "Escape From L.A."
Adrenalin: Fear the Rush, 1996. R, for gruesome violence and gore, and for strong language. A Legacy release of a Largo Entertainment presentation in association with Filmwerks. Writer-director Albert Pyun. Producers Tom Karnowski and Gary Schmoeller. Executive producers Barr B. Potter and Paul Rosenblum. Cinematographer George Mooradian. Costumes Shelly Boies. Music Tony Riparetti. Production designer Nenad Pecur. Running time: 1 hour, 17 minutes. Christopher Lambert as Lemieux. Natasha Henstridge as Delon.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times