Pretty Fine For A Made-For-TV Movie
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Not being much of an aficiando of this made-for-TV genre of disaster film, I was pleasantly surprised by this DVD, bought at a recommendation from a friend. The premise is clever and even somewhat plausible: The Black Death---alias the bubonic plague---resurfaces in the modern world in New York City. By the time the pathogen is identified, several cases have already erupted and the city's health officials are really worried that an epidemic looms on the horizon. Their efforts to find those exposed and to contain the spread of the dangerous disease are stymied by politicians afraid of the impact this "inconvenience" might have on the city's tourism. Fortunately, the infected are tracked down and the threat ended, but not before some people lose their lives.The movie has a reasonably good feel, sometimes teetering a little close to histronics, but the situations and characters seem pretty authentic. There are, of course, some cliches---the crusading doctors versus the slimy politicos, for example. Yet even these are handled well, thanks to the professionalism of the cast. Kate Jackson emotes well as Dr. Nora Hart, the point physician in the effort to quell the disease, while Jeffrey Nordling as Dr. Prescott provides solid support combined with small-town naivete. Al Waxman handles the thankless role of the mayor, bringing to this potentially cardboard role some depth. Howard Hesseman is indescribably creepy as an infected congressman who sickens his mistress and abandons her in a hospital emergency room. As the head of the city's health department, Jerry Orbach (Dr. Vincent Callafato) brings realism to the part, going from skepticism to full support of Dr. Hart's team as soon as he realizes the severity of the situation. Those who play the victims bring pathos to the movie, putting a human face on the suffering, especially Alma Martinez, who portrays a health worker who develops the illness despite preventive measures. She commits suicide, placing a sticker on herself that reads "Warning: Infectious Substance/ Biohazard". This is one of the saddest scenes in the movie.All in all, this isn't top-notch, but then it wasn't made for theater release, and certainly didn't have the budget of a big movie. These factors considered, this is a decent suspense film, quite entertaining and evoking some genuine emotions in the viewer. Good cast, good writing, reasonable production . . . overall, good entertainment and worth the time and money invested."
Fun Health Crisis Melodrama
DonMac | Lynn, MA United States | 04/29/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The TV equivalent to Outbreak or the Andromeda Strain, This one starts with a sick girl on plane to NYC and unfortunatley starts to infect a lot of people. Jackson is the State medical gal workin with the CDC on the viral outbreak. For a TV film it has some pretty intense and frightening scenes and like other films of this ilk, really makes you think about what could happen. Well done ann credible thriller."