It’s pretty funny that “DNA” manages to be a total rip off of “Predator.” Because once you get a full glimpse at the alien monster in this 1997 Mark Dacascos vehicle, you realize that the alien in the film looks exactly like the early concepts for the monster in “Predator.” Anyone who knows movies, knows that the early designs for the monster in “Predator” featured a long necked more primal beast with a beak like mouth later changed in to a dreadlocked crab like hunter. The beast in “DNA” looks similar to the aforementioned monster from early drafts of “Predator,” except this time he’s tangling with Mark Dacascos and his boss long hair. “DNA” is not the worst “Predator” wannabe I’ve ever seen, it’s just incredibly silly. Especially when the first half is pretty much a riff on “African Queen” that then turns in to “Predator” once we learn of the evil plans bad guy Jurgen Prochnow has in store.
He’s not a very smart bad guy though. After finding a hidden cave that possesses bugs with the enzymes capable of curing disease and re-animating the dead in an instant without any ill effects, he basically goes insane, trying to murder everyone and steals the discovery. Rather than sell his discovery to pharmaceutical companies and the government for trillions of dollars, he instead resurrects the long dead corpse of an alien visitor discovered in the cave because–well–because the alien might know some stuff we don’t? It’s never made clear enough as to why Prochnow’s villain resurrected an alien instead of ruling the world, but surely enough this allows for a lot of cat and mouse interplay between Dacascos’ humanitarian character and Prochnow, both of whom strive for different goals.
Dacascos thankfully doesn’t try to imitate Schwarzenneger’s Dutch until the final half, and spends most of the film reliant on his downbeat persona, trying to uncover the rash of attacks across the jungle turning up mangled corpses of innocent villagers. Only when a tragic fate emerges in the finale does Dacascos finally strip down, paint his body and decide to go primal on the alien bastard. “DNA” for the most part has a very interesting and coherent story that manages to build a semblance of memorable characters through all the throwbacks to “Predator.” While it may be a silly monster movie, it manages at least to entertain.