Unbeknownst to this critic, there existed in 2003 a Sci-Fi Channel TV series called Tracker, starring Adrian Paul (Highlander: the Series) as the titular tracker of aliens, Cole. Apparently the series didn't last more than a season, but it produced enough material that someone got the bright idea of editing a bunch of episodes together into a feature-length film. And it shows.
Cole is an alien. Sent to Earth to stop a band of intergalactic ex-cons who've come to our planet on the lam as part of a plot to take-over of the universe, he takes the form of the first humanoid image he sees: that of an underwear model pictured on a billboard by a rural Illinois highway. (If you didn't realize that Podunk Midwestern highways were known for their tighty-whities billboards, now you do.) Once established in human form, he does the next rational thing. He takes his new human body for a spin.
Awkwardly walking along the highway in search of his first suspect, the space cop stumbles upon damsel in distress Mel Porter (Amy Price-Francis) broken down on the roadside. With his magical alien powers, he touches her car and it starts right up, prompting her to offer this skivvy-clad freak a ride into Chicago, which happens to be alien central. Before you know it (and certainly before it makes any sense), Cole and Mel are living together and hunting down evildoers as a team.
Quick cut to a badly edited car chase. The WWF's Chyna (Joanie Laurer) is fleeing capture until she is inexplicably cornered in an open field and turns on her pursuers. But, thanks to his ill-defined alien superpowers, Cole hops out of his car, does a double-flip in the air, and knocks Chyna's car off course. Suddenly it's a fist fight. But since Laurer got her ass beat by Joey Buttafuoco on Celebrity Boxing, it's a little difficult to take her seriously in a round of fisticuffs. And, as we've come to expect, the silicone-cupped menace quickly falls at the feet of yet another lame dude who obviously doesn't know how to throw a punch. Cole sucks the alien's life force into a handy little container and the scene fades.
Suddenly, we're chasing some other alien. We're not sure why. Because Alien Tracker was pieced together from a bunch of separate episodes of a television series, it suddenly changes plot focus every twenty minutes or so, and new characters appear without introduction. Before Cole can capture this new alien, a bunch of black vans pull up, spewing forth paramilitary types who grab the alien and take off.
It turns out some secret U.S. intelligence agency has learned of the alien presence and has taken steps to deal with it. But, more because of haphazard writing than poor military intelligence, the agency is infiltrated by the alien bad-guy leader, Zin (Geraint Wyn Davies). Oh, Cole. Will you ever win?
With the plot sufficiently convoluted and unfollowable, Cole and his earthling buddies use a bar owned by Mel Porter (and apparently handed down to her by her grandmother who had prior contact with the aliens -- this isn't a spoiler; they blab about it for the last hour of the movie) as a base of operations to take on the double-threat of evil aliens and the government. And a charismatic guy with dreadlocks takes pictures of women in lingerie for comic relief.
As much I regret spending nearly two hours of my life watching Alien Tracker, the experience reminds me how fortunate I am never to have seen the original series. While it's generally amusing to see what badly considered alien powers the writers will throw in next, the mild sense of wonder wears off quickly, leaving only Adrian Paul's refined good looks and apparent optimism that the special effects team will transform the moronic script into something people will enjoy to carry us along. Ultimately, Alien Tracker itself looks to have been written as part of an evil alien plot to melt the brains of the human race, one Sci-Fi Channel-watching loser at a time.
In Theaters: Tuesday 14th October 2003
Distributed by: LionsGate Entertainment
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
IMDB: 4.8 / 10
Director: Ken Grotti
Producer: Gil Grant
Screenwriter: Scott Peters