X312 – Flug zur Hölle (1971, GER/SPA) C-86m. ** D: Jess Franco. Starring Thomas Hunter, Gila von Weitershausen, Hans Hass Jr., Fernando Sancho, Esperanza Roy, Howard Vernon, Paul Müller, Jess Franco. A plane crashes into the South American jungle, and the survivors have to withstand all kinds of troubles, be it mercenaries or the fat, ugly Captain, who wants the jewels that one of the passengers has with him. Typically sordid, sloppily made Franco movie. Surprisingly ambitious, though, and not without attractions (beautiful Roy, for example). Good James Bond imitation score by Bruno Nicolai and Wolf Hartmayer. International title: X312 – FLIGHT TO HELL.

X-Files, The (1998, USA) C-122m. Scope **½ D: Rob Bowman. Starring David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, John Neville, William B. Davis, Martin Landau, Blythe Danner, Terry O’Quinn, Armin Müller-Stahl, Glenne Headley. The cult series transfer to the big screen is a surprisingly well-produced sci-fi horror film, replete with conspiracy theories and special effects as FBI special agents Duchovny and Anderson investigate importance and danger of alien virus. Plot occasionally steals elements from science-fiction classics like ALIEN or ALIENS but remains entertaining and even thrilling, despite overlength. Recommended to X-Files fans (they might be even more critical, however).

X: The Unknown (1956, GBR) B&W-76m. ** D: Leslie Norman. Starring Dean Jagger, Edward Chapman, Leo McKern, Anthony Newley, Jameson Clark, William Lucas, Peter Hammond, Ian MacNaughton, Michael Ripper. One of the famous Hammer Studios’ fist horror films: At a military base an unknown force (monster?) from underneath the earth’s surface is causing havoc. Can it be stopped? Well-acted, but unfortunately too talky. Jimmy Sangster’s first feature script. Trivia note: Joseph Losey started the movie, but was replaced by Norman. He is now only credited for casting the movie.

xXx (2002, USA) C-124m. Scope ** D: Rob Cohen. Starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Everett, Danny Trejo. Hot stunt expert, thrill-seeker Diesel passes several tests to become a sort-of secret super agent for the government (represented by Jackson). The standard plot involves a crime organization, which Diesel tries to infiltrate, and beautiful sidekick Argento. Action thriller tries to establish Diesel as a kind of hyper-kinetic James Bond and features well-filmed, explosive action scenes, but plot never becomes involving. There is also a distinct lack of suspense. For fans of Diesel (who looks dull, though).