Part 1: The Relic
Director: Peter Hyams
Starring: Tom Sizemore, Penelope Ann Miller, Linda Hunt
Based on the book "Relic" by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
The Plot: an anthropologist in South America is poisoned by a mysterious tribe. Six weeks later, two odd crates turn up in a Chicago museum along with an empty cargo ship at the docks. When a security guard is brutally murdered shortly afterwards, the police shut down the museum before (in classic Jaws style) the mayor "persuades" them to re-open it so a large exhibition can go ahead. Bad decision, as a huge monster, the Kothoga, goes on a brain-eating frenzy.
The Actors: Tom Sizemore is his usual gruff, moody self, as the cop strutting around and mumbling about his estranged wife getting custody of their pooch. Linda Hunt is as reliable as ever (although wasted) and Penelope Ann Miller is fine in the brainbox good girl role. Everyone else melds into the background as potential Kothoga-fodder.
The Monster: not the late Stan Winston's finest hour, let's be honest. It's size is impressive, and it's a quick mother with razor sharp teeth, ideal for ripping off heads and extracting the desired part of the brain. The monster is kept firmly under wraps until the last third of the film when perhaps it would have been better to only show fleeting glimpses as the special effects, even for 1997, are not the best.
The Film: Despite some ludicrous plot twists (there just HAPPENS to be a mad axe killer living in the basement ALONG with the monster who gets framed for it's murders - yeah, right), The Relic is an enjoyable movie for lovers of this genre. It explores some mildy innovative theories, but you can't help feeling the book it's based on is far superior. The tension builds up nicely, but overall the film feels rushed, with some abrupt editing and a terse, unsatisfactory ending. Ultimately, however, it's worth a look for some classic Sizemore and the perky Ann Miller.
Monster! Monster! Factor: six out of ten