Super Hybrid

| August 19, 2011

The upcoming Anchor Bay release of the killer car movie Super Hybrid has cult film written all over it. A vicious and voracious squid-like creature has inexplicably evolved to a point where it has the ability to mimic, in appearance and functionality, any motor vehicle it chooses, altering its form like the difference between a pickup truck and a convertible is analogous to putting on two different T-shirts. While the T-101’s counter to young John Connor’s hypothetical of the T-1000 turning into a bomb or a gun to kill him (“It can’t form complex machines. Guns and explosives have chemicals, moving parts. It doesn’t work that way”) from Terminator 2: Judgment Day echoes throughout the film, the creative team on Super Hybrid decided to ignore how ridiculous the plot of their film was for the sake of good action, and thankfully for them, they do deliver on the action.
While Terminator 2 may have been ignored, there’s one Schwarzenegger classic that the Super Hybrid team studied extensively, and that’s Predator. From the infrared, heat-sensor ‘Predator Vision” to the “creature hunts prey one-by-one in a fixed and isolated setting” storyline, Super Hybrid stays very close to the aforementioned genre exemplar in story, style, and tone (they even include their own, “If it bleeds, we can kill it” moment). In fact, the film really offers nothing new in terms of story/character. What is fresh in this film, however, is the cinematography. The visual sensibilities of veteran cinematographer John R. Leonetti come right out in the opening credit sequence, which features some of the very best aerial tracking I’ve ever seen. The utilization of the gorgeous nighttime Chicago cityscape combined with the delicate deftness of the tracking shots as Leonetti tracks the monstrous vehicle as it weaves in-and-out of city traffic makes for hypnotic imagery, enhanced greatly by the crisp Blu-ray transfer.
Even though Super Hybrid isn’t the film you watch to see a watershed genre moment or an evolutionary leap forward in filmmaking, it should definitely be at the top of your list when you find yourself craving a contemporary “creature feature.” Deny it all you want, we all know there are times when we find ourselves seduced by the world of trashy schlock cinema, and Super Hybrid is some of the most skillfully crafted and sophisticated schlock I’ve had the honor of viewing.

About the Author:

Kyle Barrowman is a graduate of the Cinema Studies program at Columbia College in Chicago. In addition to his work for Film Monthly, he has previously published essays for Cashiers du Cinemart, Offscreen, and The International Journal of Žižek Studies, on subjects ranging from film noir to Alfred Hitchcock, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Lee.
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