Working in New York, Dr. Susan Tyler, (Mira Sorvino) is able to announce an official cure for the devastating Strickler's Disease, along with her husband Peter Mann, (Jeremy Northam) as the disease had targeted children. Figuring they are done with it, they are shocked years later when they are confronted with evidence about a roach problem dating back to their first experiments. Forced to go down into the sewers of the city with Officer Leonard, (Charles Dutton) they find that the rumors are indeed true, that the cockroaches used in the initially experiments have mutated into gigantic insects that have formed an ability to mimic the appearances due to the testing and have become responsible for a series of gruesome attacks in the area, forcing them into a battle to stop them before they take over the city.
There was some good stuff to this film that does hold it up. A big factor to this one is that, for once, this one comes up with an intelligent storyline that is built up to the extent that it's not at all confusing as to what's happening. From the evolution of the insects built to combat the virus and what the original intent is, to how the change begin, including the trigger factor, and finally the end result, with the fully-formed insects going out on the hunt, this one is well-built and has a really strong story to it that is, thankfully, kept to a simple part once it's all out in the open. Another good point here is the use of the creatures, which are really well-done and quite entertaining. The fact that they still have the insectoid look to them, with the facial features and the long, grabbing arms and overall look, along with the few humanoid touches given to it, from the ability to be a human-sized person when standing upright with the wings and spikes tucked in to the humanoid-mask that covers their face and allows them to move about with a vaguely human-looking appearance that allows them to blend in perfectly. There's also some fun to be had with the blood and gore in here, which is quite fun. There's a leg amputation, a leg slashed open that is repeatedly cut open further and bleeds more, a body bent completely in half backwards to the point of being able to fit into a small sewer gate, and tons of splatter on the walls, as well as all the non-lethal cuts and bruises along with the violence against the insects, which while not graphic does have some good stuff to it. The last big plus here is the film's second half, which really manages to consist of non-stop action for the duration. Once the descent into the sewers, there's just no stopping the action, from the chase through the tunnels to the confrontation inside the halls of the ruined subway station to an incredibly creepy attack inside a car nearby and followed up with simply spectacular conclusion inside the power plant that has a lot of great parts to it. From the glorious setting that not only allows for some plenty of fun tactics to be had but also makes for a creepy set-piece to the suspense of whether or not the plan, which is required by timing, to work is milked exceptionally well, and the fact that the aftermath is a simply gigantic explosion that is shown to take out the surrounding areas as well is a lot to do with this. The other segments are just as much fun, and overall this whole segment comes off rather well. There is some bad flaws here as well. One of the biggest is that, as much as the film scores right in this area, suffers from the overly-complicated scientific explanations for what's happening. It's great that it managed to make sure it's understood, but at the same token, it's also hammering those down to the point where it's bordering on overkill with the explanations. This is due to going into detail with every single person they come into contact with and spell it out for them, which at times makes th film like it's going on an extended loop for no real reason. This can be a source of contention as well for those that aren't into these types of films for the fact that it can be seen as being over-their-heads when trying to enjoy simple entertainment, and with this one being viewed as "smarter," it can lessen the enjoyment factor. Another factor to this, and perhaps the films' biggest flaw, is that it appears too long for it's own good. This one, especially in the early parts trying to examine everything and come up with an answer, makes the film feel incredibly long and not at all that interesting due to focusing on the scientific angle, and these here are the film's problems. I know a director's cut is on the way. I'm hopeful that some of these problems will be fixed. To sum up here this a somewhat above-average creature feature that, while slightly flawed, has enough good stuff going for it that it evens out. Give this a shot if you prefer more intellectual creature features or are a fan of the creative side, while those that are more into the simpler fare should heed caution.