Filmed and released in the UK as Scintilla, The Hybrid is yet another tale of mercs being sent on a mission to deal with weird science being performed in a bunker in some remote part of the globe. In this case it’s in Azerjestan which doesn’t exist but sounds enough like Azerbaijan to pass.
It begins with the group’s leader Jim Powell being offered his freedom from an African prison in return for his services. He of course accepts, not surprising as he’s in the midst of having his toenails removed with pliers at the time. He gathers up his old team plus a female scientist familiar with the research being performed. Once there they have to sneak into the heavily guarded compound, (there’s a civil war in progress we’re told) in scene that’s both suspenseful and funny. Unfortunately once in things get dull fast. There’s a few scares as they run into hypodermic wielding mutants and booby traps but mostly it’s just talk and exposition. Even an attempted double cross doesn’t do much to liven things up.
The film does have a few nice touches, the two young mutants the scientist is raising have an interesting look to them and the cast do look like a bunch of actual soldiers of fortune, not the action hero types you usually see in these roles. John Lynch, who was in the criminally overlooked Black Death among other films, is particularly good as the leader. Unfortunately the others are very poorly fleshed out which tends to make them very interchangeable, especially when the actors seem to have been told to just look hard and unemotional.
Since the unexpected success of Outpost there has been a small flood of films like these. And it’s easy to see why, you don’t need many sets or very elaborate ones. You don’t need a large cast either so it can be done on the cheap. But despite the simplicity of the plot making it seem like an easy project to pull off most of them have fallen very flat. Even Rise of the Spetsnaz, the third Outpost film, was virtually unwatchable. In this case to much talk and not enough action are the culprits. The middle of the film simply drags when there should be tension and conflict and there just aren’t enough action sequences on the way in or out to hold our attention.
If writer/director Billy O’Brien had upped the action a bit and trimmed some of the dialogue this could have been a winner. Instead it falls between two stools to slow and talky to work as an action/horror film but not quite deep enough to be a serious piece of science fiction. It’s an ok film to have on in the background if it turns up on NetFlix, but I wouldn’t rush out to buy a copy either.