There was a point early on in the career of Natasha Henstridge where it seemed as if her career would breakout into something bigger. In 1995, Henstridge starred in "Species", a sci-fi picture directed by the otherwise drama-focused Rodger Donaldson. Henstridge was certainly stunning (a former model) and, although she had few lines in the picture, she seemed as if she had decent presence and possible potential. Several years later, it seems as if that potential has been largely wasted; aside from memorable supporting turns in "The Whole 9 Yards" and "Bounce", Henstridge has starred in countless movies that did not pass go and went directly to video. This 1996 picture, surprisingly, went into 51 theaters before exiting quickly to video shelves.
"Adrenalin" (isn't it spelled Adrenaline?) takes place in Boston in the year 2007. A virus has entered the country and one mutated, homicidal individual is on the streets, with a few members of the police (including former "Highlander" Christopher Lambert and Henstridge) on his trail. The remainder of the film, one looooooooooonnnngggg chase scene through a dark building, involves such lines as, "he's fast...and he's stinky" as well as the usual stereotypical lines - "I've got a bad feeling about this", "why do we have to be heroes?" and other similar stereotypical banter. There's even several minutes of the 75 minute picture dedicated completely to unnecessary exposition discussing what the situation currently is when all that's going on is simply that the good guys are chasing the bad guy.
Some films have been described as "one long chase sequence", but this literally is just that. There's no development to the characters whatsoever - I'm not asking for well-defined characters in a film like this, but I'm not even sure I got the names of most of the lead characters. The action, most of it taking place in a series of tunnels or buildings, is dark and reminiscent of Peter Hyams' "The Relic", although this film isn't even as entertaining. The performances aren't particularly good - Henstridge is occasionally lively, but she's the only element of interest. About the only really good thing in this film is the 5.1 soundtrack, which is often somewhat creepier and more effective than the movie could ever hope to be.
VIDEO: The film is presented by Dimension Home Video in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a very dark picture, although the presentation remains quite sharp and smooth in appearance, with a decent amount of detail available even in the darkest sequences. No pixelation appeared and the print was unexpectedly quite clean, with the exception of a speck or two. Some grain appeared, but was not a source of irritation. Colors remained vivid and well-saturated throughout.
SOUND: The only thing which actually made this picture somewhat entertaining is the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, which is pretty darn good, considering the obviously low budget nature of the material. The score and near-constant repetitive scare sounds do get annoying, but there's a pretty respectable amount of activity in the surrounds, including some very effective wind ambience while the police are chasing the bad guy through the building. Dripping water and other noises are distinctly heard from all speakers during the tunnel sequences, as well. Low bass is occasionally strong and dialogue - although there isn't that much in the film - remained clear. Not an entertaining film, but a surprisingly effective soundtrack.
MENUS: Very basic film-themed images serve as backgrounds.
EXTRAS: Sneak peak trailers for other Dimension Home Video titles are available. That's it.
Final Thoughts: Even with an occasionally very effective 5.1 soundtrack, this is still a terrible movie that I definitely don't recommend.