the cover of the relic dvd has siskel and eberts "two thumbs up" which is deceptive now and truthfully may have been back when it came out as well. in 1997 this would've been an acceptable film may their review considered how good it was for the current slop of horror movies that where out at the time. i mean look up horror movies from that year at see what was there, not much.
today however this movie lacks a lot.
it begins with an almost "serpent and the rainbow" voodoo ritual but quickly turns to a more indian jones movie with some science and cop story.
theres just too many vague moments and errors to make it believable or likable. for instance from the very beginning there is a set up for the main cop who lost his dog in "a custody battle" and this goes on and on throughout the movie. he "inherits" a new dog when a k-9's owner gets killed by "the beast" while they are in a sewer. theres even a moment where it saves him while the beast is attacking hime and theres no clue what happens to the dog (the beast left it alone before) and then....nothing....its dropped entirely from the story.
another thing which just is aweful dated horror error which is that the beast can be anywhere at any time. there ends up being several groups of people in totally different areas of the museum; one is in one part sealed off from another group in another area, and a third group is down in the sewers. this is in the same time frame and yet the beast is attacking all three groups. i actually thought there may be at least two beasts and this was going to be the "shocker" and who knows maybes there was meant to be a relic II where the second one is revealed to have been overlooked. but in fact theres only one. worse, this beast which never hesitated to decapitate any of its victems (save for one who it missed and chopped in half instead) at the moment a main character is trying to get away from it, suddenly it approaches slowly and then hesitates...even takes time to lick her....before it reels backward to attack and allows her to slip down an elevator. never ever hesitated for a moment or reel back to attack before and suddenly has a conscious moment? you could justify it by saying that she knew the man the beast used to be, but truthfully theres no clue to this and more pointedly she had already said she didn't know him well.
ultimately the man becomes beast via viral infection is interesting. and the cg beast is fairly convincing but nothing really adds up to a good movie here. its just average. not bad. average.