Alien Girl: From Russia With Love for Predictable Crime Genre Tropes

There’s no extraterrestrial in Alien Girl; the title of Anton Bormatov’s film actually refers to its human protagonist, a sexy, murderous seductress who’s equated in the movie to the biomechanical monster of Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. That sort of strained connection typifies most of this 1993-set Russian thriller (based on a bestselling graphic novel), in which four Ukrainian hitmen are sent to Prague by mob boss Rasp (Evgeny Mundun) to pick up the lethal Angela (Natalia Romanycheva), a/k/a “Alien,” whom Rasp plans to use as leverage to keep her imprisoned brother from snitching on him. This snatch-and-grab mission is drenched in grit, grime, and cigarette smoke, and plays out with a deliberateness that soon devolves into torpor, though a stand-off with an oily pimp named Robo briefly energizes the action. Once Alien is in the thugs’ custody, however, it’s merely one long slog through predictable crime-saga machinations, with Alien seducing the dopiest of her captors and persuading him to turn on his mates. Romanycheva exudes cunning carnality, yet her wiles are as rote as the rest of this B-grade genre flick, which feigns interest in post-Communist Eastern European power dynamics but favors listlessly staged shoot-outs and heists devoid of emotional, psychological, or sociopolitical substance.

 
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