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Inalienable (DVD Review)

23 Jan, 2010 By: John Latchem


Street 1/26/10
Anchor Bay
$19.97 DVD
Not rated.
Stars Richard Hatch, Walter Koenig, Courtney Peldon, Erick Avari, Marina Sirtis, Richard Herd, Gary Graham, Alan Ruck, Jay Acovone.

There’s a classic episode of “The Outer Limits” about a robot that is put on trial for murdering its creator. The uniqueness of the episode stemmed not from its philosophical examination of the relationship of man and machine, but that the story relied on merging traditional sci-fi motifs with the framework of a conventional courtroom drama.

Inalienable, while dealing with a vastly different core element, is set up in much the same way. The end result is about what one would expect given the talent involved. The story was developed by longtime fan favorite Walter Koenig, best known as Chekov on the original “Star Trek.”

The film is populated by an all-star team of sci-fi personalities (well, maybe a minor league all-star team), led by Richard Hatch of “Battlestar Galactica,” who plays a lab researcher named Eric who is infected by an alien parasite. The creature merges with his DNA and grows into a bizarre alien-human hybrid child that emerges from Eric as if he gave birth to it. Federal authorities, wanting to study the alien, soon capture it.

Having lost his own family years earlier in a car accident, Eric sees the alien as a chance to start again, and wants to protect it. But there’s no grand plan to attack the federal compound holding the baby alien.

Instead, Eric’s lawyer (Erick Avari of Stargate) files a writ of habeas corpus on behalf of the baby, leading to a courtroom fight over whether the alien is entitled to citizenship rights because it was legally born in America. The government lawyer (Marina Sirtis of “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) argues that it’s a hideous parasite, setting a stage for a discussion of the biological ramifications of constitutional law.

It’s more thought-provoking than typical ‘B’-movie fare, even if the proceedings are a bit hackneyed.

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