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THE FLY II - 1989
Brooksfilms / 20th Century Fox
Ratings: Finland: K-18 / France: -12 / Germany, Norway, UK: 18 / Sweden: 15 / USA: R
was a sequel to the 1958 version of THE FLY called RETURN OF THE FLY, about the son
of the horribly mutated scientist. It sucked so bad I almost stuck a fork
in my eye. When the time came to make a sequel to the excellent 1986 remake
of THE FLY, would they do a better job? Clutching
my fork apprehensively, I hit "play."
THE FLY II was directed by Chris Walas (Tales from the Crypt [TV]) and written by Frank Darabont (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, THE BLOB , FRANKENSTEIN, THE GREEN MILE)
and Jim and Ken Wheat (PITCH BLACK, THE STEPFORD HUSBANDS). The story opens with a woman going through the pain of childbirth. It's obvious she's supposed to be the
character Veronica Quaife, played by Geena Davis in the first movie. But
this ain't Geena Davis. Its Saffron Henderson (ROBOCOP
[TV], FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH: Part VIII). She dies in childbirth
and we never see her face. Also in attendance is Stathis Borans, Veronica's
editor and ex-boyfriend from the first movie, still being played by John
Getz (A PASSION TO KILL, KILLER BEES). Stathis is whisked away by Bartok corporation security guards and not seen again
until much later in the movie.
And the Bartok corporation, represented by the coldly calculating Mr. Bartok (Lee
Richardson: THE EXORCIST III, QUATERMASS AND THE PIT [TV]), is the standard, formula evil corporation bad guy here. This company was mentioned in passing in the first film as the financial backer of Seth Brundle's experiments.
The baby looks like a larva at first, but the outer layer is peeled away revealing
a perfect human infant inside. Flash forward about a year and the baby
boy (who is growing at an accelerated rate) is already a toddler. He's kept in a Bartok lab and monitored around
the clock by doctors and scientists. He also shows signs of super-human
intelligence which makes perfect sense since he's part FLY!
Anyway, the rapidly growing Martin Brundle, played by a series of young boys at the different
stages of his growth, but ultimately by Eric Stoltz (ANACONDA, THE PROPHECY), chafes at his
lab-enclosed existence and escapes to explore the rest of the building.
On one of his late night explorations he finds the room where lab animals
are kept and develops a relationship with a dog. The next night the dog
is missing and young Martin searches and finds his pet in a large room
containing the telepods from the first movie. Martin watches from hiding
as Dr. Trimble (William S. Taylor: OMEN IV) and his staff attempt to teleport Martin's dog with disastrous results.
The deformed pooch sends Martin into screaming hysterics.
Two years go by and now Martin is a young man. Mr. Bartok offers him a job as a
researcher working on the teleporter problem and Martin accepts. His life
seems to be going pretty well as he quickly solves the problems of teleporting
living things and even meets a girl. Beth (Daphne Zuniga: PREY OF THE CHAMELEON, THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD) falls
for Martin and helps him with his experiments, although she seems oddly
unimpressed by the idea of teleportation. I thought this was foreshadowing
but in fact it was just bad acting.
Martin is the son of a human woman and a half-human half-fly mutant, thus
making him one-quarter fly on his fathers side. Let me just mention
here that humans and chimpanzees, which share 98% of the same genetic
material, can't cross breed, so the idea that Brundle-Fly and a human
female would successfully reproduce is extremely unlikely. Be that as
it may, if such an offspring were produced you would expect him to have
certain fly-like characteristics. For example, the great strength Brundle-Fly
displayed in the first movie is fine, since pound for pound insects are
many times stronger than mammals.
But superior intelligence? No.
That'd make a good spoof title: "The Caterpillar! Very scary, kids! Watch
out! He'll . . . eat your rose bushes!" The writers need to
spend some time watching the Discovery Channel.
This movie also has an
!!!UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT!!!:
That is where all the minorities with any substantial roles in the movie
are specifically cast as members of the "Body Count Corps".
The only survivors that you will see in a movie sporting a RACIAL
CLICHÉ ALERT, will be white folk - only white folk - all nonwhites - particularly black folk
- will be cast as corpses, and there are an awful lot of American made
Horror movies that cleave judiciously to this method of movie making.
For the ever growing list of movies in this vein, go to THE
UNFAIR RACIAL CLICHÉ ALERT page.
Later in the film, when Martin has begun his final transformation and has stumbled
across some video tape of his mutant father (Jeff Goldblum as Seth Brundle from the first movie), he and Beth escape
from Bartok and go on the run. In a search for answers about his past
he seeks out the bitter, reclusive Stathis Borans who provides more witty
comments than solutions. Still, Stathis and Martin himself are the only
characters in this very predictable formula film that aren't made
of cardboard. Attempts at tension fail because the outcome is so obvious.
There were a few interesting scenes but only enough to earn THE
FLY II two shriek girls.
This review copyright 2000 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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