We start out at the research facility where Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger)
has grown another version of the alien/human creature like Sil (Natasha
Henstridge) from the first movie. This one is called Eve. Why Dr. Baker
would do this after repeatedly being almost killed by the vicious monster
is beyond me. But this time, she assures us, Eve (Henstridge again) is being
monitored more closely. She is equipped with a biological collar that fries
her brain if she escapes, and her instinct to mate (which was the driving
passion of Sil) is curbed by the fact that there are no men on the premises.
All scientists, technicians, and guards are female. So it's just like one
big sorority party.
Meanwhile, however, the first manned mission to Mars has gone awry. During
a seven-minute silence in their radio transmissions, the three members of
the crew (Justin Lazard as Patrick Ross, Miriam Cyr as Dr. Ann Sampers,
and Mykelti Williamson as Dennis Gamble) have been infected with Martian
DNA by some goop that emerged from one of their soil samples after thawing
onboard the ship. So now, although Eve is well-guarded, there are three
other possible beasties looking to reproduce, and they happen to be nestled
inside the bodies of the three most famous, attractive, and hot-to-trot
astronauts on the planet. As Homer Simpson would say, "D--ohh!"
Though Matthew F. Leonetti's cinematography is beautiful, especially
that depicting the Martian landing, director Peter Medak has obviously turned
up the gore and writer Chris Brancato has turned down the characterization.
Helgenberger has had a makeover since the last movie, and I think the character
of Dr. Baker was washed down the sink in the process of the blonde rinse.
Where she had been a semi-credible scientist, she's now spouting eminently
clever lines like, "If he's reproducing, then there's a chance of offspring."
Henstridge's alien is supposed to be deeper and more sensitive, but as in
the first movie, she's terrible at anything other than looking good. And
also returning is Michael Madsen as Press Lenox, the hired assassin whose
character is unchanged, understandably irritated that he is again being
asked to hunt down these creatures that almost killed him before. Why, he
wonders as do we do they keep making MORE?
Brancato's astronauts are two-dimensional, especially Gamble, who should
be a respected black scientist (you know, like an astronaut?) but whose
role is written like a homeboy from the projects. I would think Williamson
would have been offended at this script. When the other two are home making
love to their spouses, he's talking about "gettin' some booty."
An appearance by James Cromwell as Ross's domineering father tries to make up for the loss of real actors like Ben Kingsley and Forest Whitaker from Species, but overall, Species II is much gorier and less credible than its substandard parent. The effects are there, though, and that's what sells those tickees. **½
See Current Reviews
See FilmQuips Archive