January 16, 2000 -- "Supernova" is an above-average science fiction thriller of the "Alien" plot variety. Powered by strong performances from the lead actors, it avoids some of the pitfalls and clichés of many movies of this genre.
A high-tech medical rescue ship, Nightingale 229, receives a strange distress call from a mining operation that is supposed to be abandoned and the crew decides to investigate. The crew finds a lone man on the frozen moon next to a supergiant blue star about to go supernova. Their captain killed in a hyperspace accident, the diminished crew begins to disappear, one at a time, because of the attacks from a crazed man, monstrously strong and resilient, but he's not the real problem. There's a fool killer on board.
James Spader (of "Two Days in the Valley") stars as Nick Vanzant, stud hero ex-military pilot who has just kicked a drug habit. Angela Bassett ("How Stella Got Her Groove Back") stars as Dr. Kaela Evers, chief medic on the ship. Lou Diamond Phillips ("The Big Hit") plays Yerzy Penalosa, who's having a torrid affair with nurse Danika Lund (Robin Tunney of "End of Days") and then there's the computer nerd Benj Sotomejor (Wilson Cruz of "My So-Called Life"). The mysterious stranger is Troy Larson (Peter Facinelli of "Can't Hardly Wait").
One of the striking things about this film is how often everybody gets naked. In order to travel inter-dimensionally everybody has to get naked. There's also a full-body scanner for which you get naked, and there's also sex, which there's a lot of in the movie. In sex, they not only get naked, but they do it zero-gravity style. It's still rated PG-13, however.
Despite all the nudity and the violence and the skulking around the ship, the movie still manages to avoid certain clichés, such as the now-he's-dead, now-he's-not farce and nobody jumps out from behind the camera with the old "gotcha." The movie does run out of gas a little at the end and leaves a lot of questions hanging in space, such as the fate of humanity. There are also a few inconsistencies, but I did like the way people generally tried to solve problems with their brains instead of with their guns. This film rates a C+.
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