Not a lot of films start with a child being shot. It takes a lot of gall to start a movie like that. John Carpenter had the gall when he made Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) and John Eyres had it when he made Monolith. It starts with an obviously distraught woman pointing a gun at a child in front of a straight arrow cop, Terry (Lindsay Frost), and a hobo person with a 80s hair metal haircut, Tucker. Both of them have gun, but they fail to stop the insane woman and the child is killed.
Or was it a child?
Tucker is portrayed by the late great Bill Paxton, so it’s obvious to everyone watching he is also a cop—the rough and dirty one that teams up with the clean and spiffy one (in this case, Terry). The new duo quickly find out that there is something quite weird about the death of the boy, something extraterrestrial.
They uncover a government conspiracy to hide the existence of alien life on earth going all the way to Project Bluebook from the 1940s. They get help from their commander (Louis Gossett Jr.), but that ain’t enough when they are both fighting an alien that jumps around bodies and a mysterious organization of Men in Black lead by a character that is literally called Villano—John Hurt steps up his overacting to eleven for this role of a lifetime.
One could think of The X-Files (1993), but Monolith came out the same year and although it shares some similarities, it’s nothing like The X-Files. That’s not saying it’s original. The main plot is directly from The Hidden (1987) sprinkled with every cliché buddy-cop action film from the 1980s put in a very Tales from the Crypt (1989) 1990s package.
Although it’s about aliens, it’s basically a cop-looking-for-a-suspect film, with fleet mention on anything sci-fi until the end. The real winner here is the soundtrack, which makes the saxophone riddled Lethal Weapon (1997) music look subtle. It’s all about the guitar riffs, but don’t worry, there is also some saxophone.
Monolith isn’t anything memorably and it looks cheap—I had to do google a lot to make sure it wasn’t a made for TV film. It does have that early 1990s charm, though, with its corny music and crappy special effects. Add Bill Paxton and a villainous John Hurt to the mix and you got yourself an enjoyable 90 minutes.