By Leah Rozen
January 31, 2000 12:00 PM

Angela Bassett, James Spader, Lou Diamond Phillips, Robin Tunney

Sci-fi films are so educational. In Supernova, one learns that it is necessary to strip naked if the space ship you are traveling in is about to jump dimensions. (Bet you’ll never grumble again about having to fasten a seat belt before an airplane takeoff.) Why, exactly, Supernova’s crew must disrobe for such a maneuver (other than to allow its buff stars to display the results of long personal-training sessions) is never explained. But much of what goes on in this thoroughly mediocre film is never explained or—more to the point—defies explanation.

A putative thriller set in the 22nd century, the film stars Spader and Bassett as crew members on a medical rescue vehicle. The ship answers a distress signal and comes to the aid of a mysterious stranger (Peter Facinelli). Faster than you can fall asleep, several others on board meet nasty endings. Spader and Bassett must stop the evil before the universe as they know it is destroyed. All of which plays out even more boringly than it reads. The movie is edited, particularly in its final scenes, in a herky-jerky fashion, which may be why last-minute replacement director Walter Hill (48 Hours) took his name off the final credits after the studio took control of the film. (Hill’s nom de bomb here is Thomas Lee, instead of the now too widely recognized Alan Smithee.) Bassett and Spader do what they can, but their lines are so wooden even Gepetto couldn’t make this stuff come alive. (PG-13)

Bottom Line: A black hole