While consistently entertaining, the movie sequel can’t help but be a victim of a rate of diminished returns.
Fresh on the heels of the smash 1995 hit, “Species II” doesn’t quite hit the same levels as the first but it is one you can’t help but oddly appreciate.
Having just returned from a successful Mission to Mars, Commander Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard) is an American hero, but he also just isn’t quite himself. After being infected with a strain of Alien DNA, he is now an alien/human half breed with a one track mind, to procreate with as many women as he possibly can. Woman after woman suffers a gruesome death while bearing his half alien offspring so scientist Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger) and contract assassin Press Lennox (Michael Madsen) are sent out in the field once again along with a more tempered version of Eve (Natasha Hendstridge) to find Ross and his ever growing brood. However, maternal instincts are hard to suppress and Eve can’t shake the drive to mate with Ross, something that could result in the end of humanity as they know it.
Let’s call a spade a spade; “Species II” will never be confused for being a good movie but it is one of those unique sequels that should have gone straight to video but instead managed to attracted a decent B+ cast as it ditches some of the more lurid elements of the first film to make more of a straight up action flick.
Director Peter Medak is the definition of a career working director jumping from features, to TV, music videos and back again as easily as the wind blows but with some credits like “The Changeling”, “The Krays” & “Romeo Is Bleeding” there is clearly enough talent there to keep a narrative moving from point A to point B without a whole lot of fuss. Sadly the script here is the genuine weak spot as it never matches the energy of the first one. Eve and the aliens are never quite as fun if they lose their proverbial fangs. It tries, but ends up as a stale copy of the first, without any of the swagger that made it fun and it devolved into a procedural chase movie. Hardly bad, but just a bit forgettable.
Stuck in a glass box for the bulk of the film, Natasha Hendstridge doesn’t get to strut as Eve and feels like a peacock with her wings clipped as they instead go with Justin Lazard in a gender role reversal. Sadly Lazard has the charisma of a cardboard box and the movie never gets off the ground since we just don’t give a damn what he does. Marg Helgenberger and Michael Madsen come back for the paycheck, so I just can’t blame them while George Dzundza overacts with the best of them, Sarah Wynter in one of her first on camera roles barely registers while Mykelti Williamson & James Cromwell just seem lost like they stumbled on to set and just took the job.
When all is said and done, “Species II” anything more than one for the fans and that’s OK but it still stands as a historical curiosity as we have so many decent and talented people, doing something so very mediocre and beneath them.
2 out of 5 stars.
The picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray transfer are pretty solid and the special features include new interviews with Natasha Hendstridge, Special Effects Make up Artist Steve Johnson, and Screenwriter Chris Brancato. There’s also a feature length commentary with director Peter Medak, Uncut Deleted Scenes that weren’t seen in theatres, the theatrical trailer, stills and behind the scenes photos and production sketches.