The Hive

Rating 2

Directed by Peter Manus

Written by T S Cook

Starring Kal Weber, Elizabeth Healey, Mark Ramsey, Jessica Reavis and Tom Wopat

When millions of ants swarm in an island in Southeast Asia killing local inhabitants a team from ‘Thorax Industries’ is sent in to kill the insects and contain the situation. However, the ants display hitherto unheard of levels of intelligent behaviour and, as is eventually discovered, have created a kind of computer technology and are able to communicate with their human antagonists. They hold a young girl hostage and demand the island for their own.

I am at a loss to know what to say about this inexplicable made-for-television film. It comes from RHI Entertainment, a production company previously known as Hallmark Entertainment that specialises in films and miniseries for cable television channels. It churns out huge amounts of product.

‘The Hive’ is a kind of mix of ‘The X Files’, ‘Starship Troopers’, ‘Predator’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ - with a dash of 'Twister' for good measure. The Thorax team, a bunch entomologists who speed around the island in Hummers and act like Rambo, use space-age lasers to kill and control the ants. The original threat seems to have emanated from the apparently unobserved arrival of extraterrestrials. Neither of these things is ever explained and the film otherwise plays as a kind of commentary on ecological disasters. In the end, the message seems to be that if all else fails, America can always be relied on to nuke the bastards!

The story zips along at a breakneck pace, which is probably just as well because it’s complete hogwash and the dialogue is often laughably stilted. The script comes courtesy of T S Cook, who was once nominated for an Academy Award as one of the writers of the late 1970s film classic ‘The China Syndrome’.

The acting is largely on a par with the script. Pointing the finger at individual actors is perhaps unfair, but Mark Ramsey and Jessica Reavis are particularly wooden. Kal Weber and Elizabeth Healey fare a little better, but they do have the benefit of slightly more substantial roles to work with. The best-known actor here is Tom Wopat, now looking a lot more grizzled than he did back in the days when he played Luke Duke in ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’.

It is pointless being too critical of a film like this. It’s bunkum, but it’s harmless and it’s almost enjoyable in a ludicrous kind of way.

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