A chaotic production history adds up to a mixed bag of science fiction cliches for this film destined to be remembered not for its positive qualities but as an early use of the phony directorial credit Thomas Lee, the replacement moniker for the DGA-imposed Alan Smithee. A cast of interesting actors struggling with arcane material can't rescue this dead-on-arrival concept, a mixture of ideas borrowed from other deep space adventures and sci-fi horror flicks. Unlike the superior predecessors it mimics, including Alien (1979), the film's antagonist motivations and thrills are never clearly delineated, leaving viewers befuddled. Exposition that never seems to end, camera work that pinwheels from impressive to confusing, and an utter lack of chemistry between the film's stars adds up to a frustrating cinematic experience that begins and ends abruptly. A last minute editing job by MGM honcho Francis Ford Coppola couldn't save the film from a fate worse than death at the hands of an alien: box-office apathy.
by Karl Williams review