A hit in the summer of 1995, "Species" added lots of sex to the overworked humans-versus-killer-E.T.s genre, but it was otherwise relentlessly derivative, starting with H.R. Giger's "Alien"-like creature. It's safe to say people paid to see newcomer Natasha Henstridge
as a naked, horny babe from space, and one expected more of the same in the sequel.
Produced by Frank Mancuso Jr. with the original film's writer Dennis Feldman
serving as executive producer, MGM's "Species II" is a clunky, poorly conceived follow-up directed with no particular flare by veteran Peter Medak
(TNT's "The Hunchback"). There's more than enough blood and sadistic imagery to generate ghoulish word of mouth, but the plot is ludicrous, the dialogue laughable and the performances uninspired.
Henstridge as Eve, a half-human/half-alien clone made from a frozen lab embryo by the returning molecular biologist Laura (Marg Helgenberger
), is kept in the wings for most of "Species II". Heavily guarded and hooked on TV shows, she's a docile, simple-minded version of the first film's man-hungry lead.
Eve has been created so that Laura can figure out what kills her. Insurance against future extraterrestrial threats, to be sure, but Eve is no "lab rat." She's part human and it hurts when she's gassed. Playing at times like a twisted soap opera, the movie starts on a epic note, with the first landing on Mars.
"Species II" is primarily the story of the dashing astronaut Patrick (Justin Lazard
), who wins everlasting fame as the first hunk to plant the flag on another planet. But he unwittingly collects something nasty in his soil samples and, in a sequence worthy of "The Blob", the crew is slimed with uncertain results.
Back on earth, it's not long before Patrick is screwing and killing women in repulsive scenes of instant conception, pregnancy and gut-busting delivery. The result is a small army of young Patricks and the return of Press (Michael Madsen), who teamed up with Ben Kingsley
, Alfred Molina and Forest Whitaker
This time ex-assassin Press is joined by Gamble (Mykelti Williamson
), Patrick's fellow astronaut who is not infected. They take orders from the one-eyed zealot Colonel Burgess (George Dzundza
). Patrick's father, Senator Ross James
Cromwell), is forgiving because of his own ambitions for his son, but he's one of many who pays the price for having no clue about what's really going on.
And one certainly pays for the privilege of watching this movie, with such unsavory memories as watching hard-to-kill Eve shot up by a dozen soldiers or a woman's head sawed through during a sickeningly gratuitous autopsy scene. The cheap thrills keep coming, like it or not, while overall the production is lacking in visual pizzazz and the monsters and spaceships are adequate but nothing special.
MGM Distribution Co.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures presents
an FGM Entertainment production
A Peter Medak
Director: Peter Medak
Screenwriter: Chris Brancato
Producer: Frank Mancuso Jr.
Executive producer: Dennis Feldman
Director of photography: Matthew F. Leonetti
Production designer: Miljen Kreka Kljakovic
Editor: Richard Nord
Costume designer: Richard Bruno
Music: Edward Shearmur
Creatures/special makeup effects: Steve Johnson
Casting: Amanda Mackey
Press: Michael Madsen
Eve: Natasha Henstridge
Laura: Marg Helgenberger
Gamble: Mykelti Williamson
Colonel Burgess: George Dzundza
Senator Ross: James Cromwell
Patrick: Justin Lazard
Running time -- 93 minutes
MPAA rating: R