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Stargate


Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich are pretty great at delivering enjoyable popcorn thrillers like "Independence Day" "The Day After Tomorrow" and "The Patriot".

Their first big hit was 1994's STARGATE with two young actors in their prime. A muscled up Kurt Russell is Colonel Jack O'Neil, leader of a beefy special unit force about to cross through a mysterious portal originally uncovered in the 1920's in Egypt (glimpsed during a fun prologue).

Displaying a much younger version of Raymond Reddington's wit and energy, James Spader stars as Dr. Daniel Jackson, an expert of Egyptology who will come in handy on their journey.

The Stargate transports them to another galaxy, where something resembling an ancient Egyptian culture rules the day.

There are plenty of mysteries, exotic worlds and one very nasty villain in the person of the Sun God Ra, played with menace by Jaye Davidson of "The Crying Game". He doesn't do any unveils quite like he did in that film, but he's got more than a few surprises in his arsenal.

Spader is hilarious and enjoyable throughout, balancing poor Russell, who is just asked to go all Rambo for a couple hours. Both Davidson and Spader said they did the film as a money grab, but they certainly help elevate it into a crowd pleaser. Davidson never made another film after earning a million dollars for this role.

It's all pretty silly and has some pretty serious lapses of common sense. If Ra has mastered time and space with the Stargate, I couldn't quite figure out why he still lives like the Pharaohs in Cecil B. DeMille's biblical movies. Why does he need all that manual labor?

Russell's character seems awfully unimpressed coming out the other side of that Stargate too. Shouldn't there be a little awe?

But what the hell, the way the pyramids become part of the story is pretty cool in a fun summer movie style and there's enough action to keep things moving quickly enough so your head scratching on logic doesn't happen until after the credits.

Composer David Arnold was working in a music store when they hired him to write the score. Good choice! It's one of his best, even if he did wear out his welcome quickly with his one note scoring on Brosnan's OO7 films.

A fun, mindless and campy sci-fi hit, STARGATE gets a B-.

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