13 February 2006 | Carycomic
WHAT IF...the legendary Samuel Z. Arkoff wanted to release a low-budget rip-off of "Spider-Man The Movie" six months before the latter?
You'd have this movie. It's about a security guard named Quentin who's an avid comic-book fan (which makes me empathize with him, so far). And, one night, masked gunmen (presumably eco-terrorists) raid the genetic research company where he works. His partner, Nick is struggling with one of them, after hitting the silent alarm. And when Quentin tries to help him, he is restrained by one of the so-called "real cops" who respond. As a result, Nick is killed, along with the cop's partner.
Quentin is ridiculed for letting that happen, and fired for being "negligent" in his duties (he was patrolling a different part of the building when the raid occurred). That's when he remembers that the shot-up lab is where they were injecting some mysterious red chemical into what look like pygmy tarantulas.
As his favorite comic book hero is the Arachnid Avenger (a thinly-disguised version of Marvel's Spidey, during his six-armed phase), he becomes a vigilante. The first enemy he defeats? A serial killer called the Mid-town Murderer, who makes the fatal mistake of targeting Stephanie, Quentin's pretty pre-med neighbor.
Enter "Detective Grillo," played--with very surprising realism--by Dan Akroyd. The Mid-town Murders were his case, and having someone else kill the perpetrator does not improve his current unpopularity among his fellow cops. Or, his unfaithful wife (played by Theresa Russell). Unfortunately, as Quentin's mutations increase, so does his appetite. And, he begins FEEDING on his (still less-than-sympathetic) targets!!!
*This includes Mrs. Grillo's lover, Officer Williams. The same policeman who accused Quentin of not being a real cop. I could be wrong. But, it looked as if he was fondling that webbed-up Goth girl, while supposedly untangling her.*
Unfortunately, after such a slow build-up, the show-down between Det. Grillo and Quentin is a little too rushed for my taste. We don't get shown if Grillo and his wife reconcile (assuming she merely fainted, instead of dying of fright, at the first sight of fully-mutated Quentin). Nor, do we see if Stephanie and Thor (Quentin's pet beagle) stay at, or move away from, the apartment building.
All we see is a ceramic model of Arachnoid Quentin exhibited by his Amerasian friend, the comic-book dealer (supposedly as a tribute). And, as if that anti-climax weren't bad enough, there's the misleading title itself. THIS IS NOT A REMAKE OF THE B/W 1958 MOVIE!
In fact, the only connection between the two is a TV clip of the latter. So, for those two reasons, I only give this a four-out-of-ten, rather than a halfway-decent five.