Aliens are in right now. Sure, they always have been, but something about the last 5 years of cinema and television feels like society has pushed aside its Hot-Topic zombie obsession for a desire for an extraterrestrial threat. Naturally, it’s not all that surprising to come across yet another film where an alien life form is the focus of the story and like most films of this science fiction staple, a majority of the film is predictable with an extremely typical plot: a person with supernatural powers is hunted by the government only to find there is a strong life form is also on the run alongside him. It is as cookie-cutter as it gets yet, James Mark, director of Enhanced, does add a sprinkle of emotion for both sides of the story. Interestingly enough, he manages to show alternate perspectives of each individual, where one might almost feel sympathy for the big bad antagonist.
Enhanced is about Anna (Alanna Bale), who later you come to find out is out of the ordinary. She works at a mechanic shop with her boss, Danny (Jeffrey R. Smith), who is in the process of getting her a passport when his supplier attempts to take advantage of him. Little to everyone’s knowledge, Anna steps in to help and in the process winds up murdering the suppliers. Anna rushes out the shop. She realizes she’s being followed not only by elite private military soldiers, George (George Tchortov) and his teammate Scott (Eric Hicks), but also Eli Balck (Michale Joseph Delaney). After a string of a few minor events, they all become aware of a super high end life form who one can say is ten times stronger than the usual “enhanced” experimented human beings. David (Chris Mark) is known as the alpha who everyone fears. He is a divine mixture of a human being with no limit to energy, or “power” as one could say.
While the plot could be a bit underperformed with its lack of originality and predictability because of the genre restrictions, every lead actor does a fairly remarkable performance to achieve the feeling of urgency and emotion in each scene. David (Mank) is a standout. He has so much fun with all the power and respect that goes his character’s way and that spills over to the performances from the rest of the cast as well. Anna (Smith) begins reserved with her acting, but starts to loosen up after we are introduced to David.
In Enhanced, there were a couple of the lines that were simultaneously hilarious and could be taken a bit too deep in meaning like “You only exist to die” or “ Your universe is a decaying carcass. I can smell every particle and it nauseates me. I wish to leave it.” This could be a mark of a bloated script full of odd sayings you’d find on a motivational poster, but in the hands of these actors, the delivery just seemed so genuine unlike another sci-fi indie that I had seen prior to Enhanced. This does wonders when the story of the film fails to really capture the adventure that it promises.
Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Enhanced shouldn’t be knocked because it has a worn-out chase story. Yes, that makes it feel like you’ve seen this before, but for a film with a smaller budget and an unknown cast, there is so much charm that still bleeds through. Our leads are fantastic and have a blast in the film and the script has enough quips that keep it fresh. If you think about it, that might just be enough to forgive another director doing a film like this. Hell, I think I might understand the alien obsession… if it’s done with some fun.