Specimen (1996)

4“Specimen” is one of those late nineties relics that has to be seen to be believed or else you’ll ne sure it never existed. A TV movie and straight to video film, “Specimen” is by and large one of the many blemishes on its stars filmographies that acts as merely a vehicle and some work during their down time and serves as nothing more than filler. A rip off of “The Terminator 2,” “Firestarter,” and “Fire in the Sky,” Douglas Bradshaw’s film is one I discovered in the 1999 and have yet to get over. It’s a cheesy knock off and one that prides itself in being a shameless carbon copy, but I love it just the same at the end of the day.

I love the movie so much I even created a comic book out of it and years after its initial release, it’s still an effective bit of TV movie nostalgia. Mark Paul Gosselar, still reeling from his days on “Saved by the Bell” plays Mike, a pyrokinetic with an enigmatic past who is trying to come to grips with his super powers while also coming to terms with his lack of humanity. Basically the entire film plays out like a science fiction melodrama with Mike somehow spelling doom for the planet if he’s not tracked down and or saved by his two drones.

Both men are muscle bound models who arrive on Earth in the buff and take to donning Earth clothing violently. And Mike is the person they have to catch or else… something… bad is going to happen. It’s never quite explained what will happen to Mike or if something will happen to Mike, but he’s of some significance to his people.  What I can’t figure is if Mike is a quasi-alien and his two drones are also aliens, why can he control an Earthly element such as fire and they can’t? What gives him this ability?

Nonetheless in spite of the inherent flaws, “Specimen” succeeds in being a damn fine form of guilty pleasure that works around the low budget and hammy acting and taps in to the epic angle that it projects on to the audience. By the time the film ended I wanted to learn more about Mike’s home world, and what it had in store for him. Alas, a sequel was never meant to be. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy this fun science fiction romp every now and then. Ridiculous and rather goofy, “Specimen” is also a charming and entertaining TV movie with some decent performances, and a premise that has potential to be something bigger than its low budget trappings allows.