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Breathless `X-Files’ keeps tension high

SHARE Breathless `X-Files’ keeps tension high

If you're an "X-Files" fan who's expecting the movie to answer all the questions the hit television show has posed since it started, you could walk away disappointed.

Even if you believe the film will simply clear up all of the unresolved situations in the season-ending cliffhanger (which was sup-posed to be a lead-in to this movie), you'll probably be in for a rude awakening.In other words: It ain't gonna happen.

That said, the cinematic "X-Files" is better than might have been expected. For one thing, it features a more stripped-down and understandable storyline, which suggests that series creator Chris Carter (who also co-wrote the film) should have been following this formula all along.

Also, the film is paced so breathlessly there's not much opportunity to question some of the more threadbare plot developments. (And it does provide a starting point for an intriguing new direction for the series to take next season.)

The movie picks up the story shortly after the season-ending episode, with the X-Files program disbanded - possibly for good this time. FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) are now on general assignment.

But the two quickly get caught up in another mysterious conspiracy, one involving the bombing of a federal building in Dallas. Blamed for not preventing the tragedy, which cost another agent his life, Mulder and Scully are also in danger of being split up.

Trying to clear themselves, they find four of the five victims may have been dead before the explosion, because they were "infected" with alien parasites - the presence of which may signal the beginning of an invasion.

Meanwhile, Mulder is receiving tips from the mysterious Dr. Kurtzweil (Martin Landau), who claims to have been a colleague of Mulder's late father. Mulder is also being monitored by the mysterious cabal that has managed to thwart many of his more in-depth in-ves-ti-ga-tions.

Admittedly, some neophytes may get confused by all the plot twists and changing alliances. And, of course, some fans will be irked by the idea of having to pay for what amounts to an "X-Files" ep-i-sode.

But the chills and thrills will make it worthwhile for diehard "X-Filiacs" and many other casual series fans. Credit director Rob Bowman (a series veteran), who never lets up, tensionwise. And Carter, whose plotting and dialogue is heads and tails above his work on the TV show.

Also, both Duchovny and Anderson are much better here, as they actually exhibit more personality and charm and less of the one-note mumbling that plagues their TV per-form-ances.

"The X-Files" is rated PG-13 for violent gunplay and fist-fighting, as well as some vicious alien attacks, gory special effects, profanity, vulgar gags, brief female nudity and use of one racial slur.