SPECIES II - 1998
Rating: USA: R
Did you see SPECIES? God, did it suck. Even Ed Wood would
have said, "Hey, that movie really sucks."
And if you know that, you, like me, would probably have little interest in seeing
the sequel to such a terrible movie (unlike me, you don't have a scary, bald-head son of a bitch constantly bugging
you to write movie reviews for his horror site).
But here's the point, my human friend: we'd both be wrong, because as sometimes
happens for reasons beyond the comprehension of mere mortals, the straight-to-video
sequel is a better movie. In fact, it's pretty cool.
This must be due director Peter Medak ([TV] KINDRED: The Embraced, [TV] TALES FROM THE CRYPT) and first time horror writer Chris Brancato, neither of whom had anything to do with the first movie.
The story begins with the first manned mission to Mars. As the landing is broadcast
on TV, an enraged Peter Boyle (YOUNG FRANKENSTIEN)
smashes up the day room at the mental institution where he resides. We don't find out why until much later.
This movie is full of great touches. For example, when the Mars ship passes into view for the first time, we see logos for Sprint, Pepsi, Reebock and Miller Lite! And when the President sends a video message of congratulations,
if you look close you can see that it's stand-up comic and excellent
actor Richard Belzer (NOT OF THIS EARTH, THE PUPPET
MASTERS) doing an exaggerated Ronald Reagan impression.
Samples brought up from dry, dead Mars are awakened by the atmosphere on the ship and a suspiciously familiar goo oozes out and heads for the three astronauts:
Anne Sampas (Myriam Cyr: FRANKENSTIEN UNBOUND, GOTHIC),
Dennis Gamble (Mykelti Williamson: A KILLER AMONG US, THE FIRST POWER) and
Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard: UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: The Return). Patrick Ross is the first man on Mars and the son
of Senator Ross (James Cromwell: STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, THE GREEN MILE)
The ooze attack causes a short blackout in communications but then the astronauts
wake up and feel fine with no memory of the missing time. They all return
to Earth to a hero's welcome and everything seems fine. The trouble
begins when they go looking for a little nookie after the long mission.
Sex with Patrick proves immediately fatal to two hookers he picks up at
his welcome back ceremony. Alien babies spring forth from their exploded
corpses and we begin to see a pattern.
Meanwhile, back at a familiar government lab we discover that Dr. Laura Baker (Marg
Helgenberger : SPECIES, [TV] THE TOMMYKNOCKERS,
CSI [TV]) has grown a clone of the original human alien hybrid,
Sil (Natasha Henstridge: SPECIES,
MAXIMUM RISK, GHOSTS OF MARS).
This one is named Eve, and her alien DNA has been "weakened"
to prevent a disaster like last time. Eve is also kept in an entirely
female world, because the sight of a man could trigger her breeding instinct.
Very quickly scientists put two and two together and realize the same alien genes that
created Sil and Eve have probably infected all three astronauts. Dr. Baker
is reunited with government agent Press Lenox (Michael
Madsen: KILL BILL Vol. 1, KILL BILL Vol. 2, SIN CITY) and
the two are sent off to hunt the new alien threat.
Patrick is conflicted at first but quickly comes to terms with his new instincts
by porking every woman within reach, willing or not. Each mating produces
a young boy offspring, who Patrick hides on his family's farm.
The hunters notice that Eve has a psychic connection to Patrick, and can be used to
track him. At first she helps but when they "strengthen" her
alien DNA to increase her ability to find Patrick, Eve realizes that they
are a match made in heaven and the two start working together.
The finale involves Eve and Patrick mating in their human forms at first, but they
quickly transform into their true alien shapes, and unlike the first movie H.R. Gigers
alien design is not wasted. The climax, if you will, is expected but satisfying
and of course the ending has a small twist that would allow for a sequel.
They make a valiant attempt at the science in science fiction. Of course
all the familiar mistakes are there, like sound in space (God Damn it, when is a movie besides 2001 going to be made that gets that right? Space is a vacuum! No air and thus NO SOUND). The
worst mistake is the communications between the Mars astronauts and Earth,
which is portrayed as instantaneous. Even at its closest, Mars is more
than 50,000,000 miles away. Now as we all remember from High School science,
the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. That means radio signals
would take a minimum of four and a half minutes each way (You
say something and eight minutes later you hear the answer). Oh
See more SCIENCE
For its kind, this is a good movie. The story moves quickly, there's a half-way
intelligent script and some cool gore and nudity. On Feo Amante's
shriek girl scale, I give this movie a three.
copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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