The Hidden certainly kicks things off early as the opening credits shows footage of a bank security camera and everything seems all nice and peaceful until... BLAM!... a shotgun touting baddie shoots-up the place and steals some money. Then it's out to the streets where he shoots a guard through a plate glass window, hops into a Ferrari and leads the police on a car chase through the busy roads of a major metropolis. During this time I am proclaiming to myself, "this is the coolest movie I have ever seen!".
Eventually the police, led by detective Michael Nouri, have stopped the robber (not until after he's plowed down a guy in a wheelchair in the park, mind you) and as the thief sits in the hospital Nouri is approached by an FBI agent (Kyle MacLachlan). Apparently the agent has been tracking the man for a while and things get even more bizarre when the burnt up baddie rises from his bed and spits a slimy, worm-like creature into the mouth of the man in the bed beside him.
From here it's a slew of action sequences and plot twists as Nouri has to team-up with the odd FBI man to hunt down the creature which it turns out is a malicious alien who has the ability to take over human bodies and has a penchant for crime, fast cars, and loud heavy metal music.
Body switching sci-fi/horror fun from director Jack (Nightmare On Elm Street 2) Sholder, this can't quite keep up the breakneck pace or promise of the first half throughout but it manages to throw out an entertaining story that's loaded with a pleasing amount of action, some alright effects, and solid acting from its two leads. Scripter Jim Kouf (using the name Bob Hunt on the credits) even throws in a few jabs at 80's excess - like having a car salesman giving a potential customer cocaine when they're signing the papers.
Since it's release in 1987, The Hidden has gone on to enjoy a cult following and can be sited as the first in a short-lived "cop(s) hunting an alien predator" subgenre that includes such films as I Come In Peace and the obvious rip-off Peacemaker. It's certainly Sholder's best work (he's done lots of TV movies and the awful genre pictures Wishmaster 2 and Arachnid), it was quite unique mix of "buddy cop" movies and sci-fi when it came out, and it also helped solidify New Line Cinema as a genre friendly studio (they're also responsible for the Elm Street and Critters movies). So in other words, give this one a shot, you won't regret it.
Followed by a sequel. (Chris Hartley, 7/21/05)
Directed By: Jack Sholder.
Written By: Bob Hunt (Jim Kouf).
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Nouri, Claudia Christian, Clarence Felder.