Species II Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1998

You killed those fucking alien things last time, and you'll do it again!


"It's mating season again" the advertising tagline reads, heralding the follow-up to the 1995 sci-fi flick, "Species". And like the original, there's more of the same potent concoction of sex, gore, and gunplay. But can lightning strike twice?


Dad, something's wrong with me... ever since I got back from Mars.


It's 1998, and the first manned mission to Mars, sponsored by Pepsi, is a success. Astronaut Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard) has walked on the surface of the red planet, and collected some soil samples. However, on the return trip to Earth, alien DNA, long held captive by the frozen environment of Mars, thaws and infects the crew, mutating them into a new... SPECIES! Patrick Ross returns home a hero, though he knows that is wrong with him. He attempts to speak with his father, a powerful senator (James Cromwell of "L.A. Confidential"), about the change he is undergoing, but his pleas go ignored. Something has taken over his body, and he feels compelled to do unspeakable things...

Meanwhile, in an top secret military bio-containment facility, Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger, reprising her role from the first movie) is conducting experiments on Eve (Natasha Henstridge, also back from the first movie), a clone of the original alien/human hybrid, Sil. However, this time around, the 'aggressive' alien genes have been made dormant, and Eve spends her days bouncing between medical experiments and living a life of luxurious isolation. Eve longs for more than her sheltered existence, and does not fully understand the danger she poses if she were to roam freely.

When evidence emerges that a second alien is creating havoc in the outside world, a new team is brought together to counter the new alien threat. In addition to Dr. Baker, Preston Lennox (Michael Madsen, also returning from the first movie) is called out of retirement to find the new alien and kill it, and he is joined by Dennis Gamble (Mykelti Williamson of "Con Air"), one of the astronauts that was on the Mars mission alongside Ross. It is learned that there is some sort of telepathic link between Eve and Ross, and the arrogant military types demand that Dr. Baker activate Eve's dormant genes, such that the can be strengthened, allowing Lennox and Gamble to track it. However, by activating her dormant alien genes, they inadvertently send her mating instinct into overdrive... and you can pretty well guess what happens next.


How did she learn to drive?
From television. "The Dukes of Hazard" is one of her favorite shows.


Despite being nothing more than being a derivative "Alien"-wannabe-B-movie-with-lots-of-nudity, the original "Species" did have one thing going for it-- the portrayal of Sil's learning process, in which she struggled with her identity, came to understand her environment, and learned how to move among human beings. "Species" was also interesting in its dissection of the 'dating and mating' game, as Sil encountered different social situations as she followed her agenda of procreation. "Species II" has none of this cultural probing, and despite the dramatic possibilities of inner turmoil arising from being changed from within (which Cronenberg's "The Fly" did so well), little exploration is done on the metamorphosis that Ross and Eve undergo, the effects on their psyche, or how they relate to those around them. Instead, we are left with gratuitous gore, gratuitous nudity, and gratuitous violence, that ultimately becomes meaningless background noise in an unappealing film. Even the direction by Peter Medak, who helmed such quirky dramas as "The Krays" and "Romeo is Bleeding", can't save it.

Given the lack of merits, "Species II" will probably become extinct very quickly. 'Nuff said.

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