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Still from Species IISpecies II
Far loonier and bloodier than the original, and upping the howler dialogue to record levels, Species II continues the half-human/half-alien-on-the-sex-rampage saga in the manner to which director Roger Donaldson got us accustomed. This time it’s Peter Medak’s turn to trash his career with a spectacularly stupid shocker revelling in soft core sleaze and grisly deaths.
Anyone anticipating ‘The Changeling in Space’ will soon down-scale their expectations once this unsubtle half-baked rehash of the first Sci-Die outing crash-lands on Earth. And those hoping returning Giger-babe Natasha Henstridge will copiously get her kit off again are in for a disappointment too as it’s the Martian male who’s the prime concern here. T&A is swapped for D&A along with the DNA! But if it’s unashamed schlock complete with messy full-bore gore you’re after, then Species II is an unmissable popcorn treat. Just don’t say you weren’t warned!
It’s the first man on Mars who is infected by the same deadly alien DNA used to terrestrially create Sil (Henstridge) last time around. Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard) is the son of a senator (James Cromwell) and the moment he returns to Earth he goes on a sex spree leaving behind a trail of dead women with holes in their stomachs where his rapidly growing offspring used to be. Press Lennox (Michael Madsen reprising his hired assassin role) is called in to hunt Ross down partnered by the hero astronaut’s Space mission cohort Dennis Gamble (Mykelti Williamson).
Complications arise because Dr Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger, also back again) has recreated the Sil species from a frozen lab embryo resulting in Eve (Henstridge), a clone with dormant alien traits. But when Press uses Eve to telepathically track Ross down (“He’s in the supermarket. Aisle one, fruit and veg”!), it alerts him to her secret quarantine whereabouts. It also increases both their alien desires to mate with each other to purify their DNA which caused the eradication of all life on Mars and could do the same to our planet.
But why wasn’t Gamble a virus victim like Anne Sampas (Myriam Cyr), the third member of the Mars mission? The answer to that time honoured War of the Worlds question is this week’s SF release’s saviour of mankind. “Take a look at those beautiful welts,” says leering George Dzunda as the camera lovingly hones in on scabs mottling Eve’s semi-naked chest. Dzunda plays Colonel Carter Burgess Jr in loud-mouth Hitler mode, complete with scar and glass eye, and is an absolute hoot every time he utters scriptwriter Chris Brancato’s outrageously ludicrous lines. Another example? “He’s going to f**k the human race into extinction”! What with Helgenberger standing back in amazement and screaming “This is awful” (and how right she is!), it gets increasingly hard to believe that Species II wasn’t meant to be intentionally funny as it piles up the laughs alongside the bloodied victims. Surely they can’t have taken any of it seriously?
As for the gore, slime and phallic tentacle quotient, not since the heyday of Italian zombie splatter exploiters have so many body parts been lasciviously eviscerated on camera with such lurid power. Head explosions, torso-burstings, CGI alien shagging – it’s all here in lascivious detail, and the spirit of Lucio Fulci even lives on in a cranium-sawing sequence. Maestro Steve Johnson’s sick bag make-ups may be derivative but they sure are reliably effective. None of the performers match the animation of the alien viral load as it leaps towards the camera though. The actors coast through mechanical Medak’s intensely unnecessary sequel as if they couldn’t be bothered making the effort of bringing an iota of credibility to the terminally daft scenario in the first place. Lounge Lazard is no substitute for horny Henstridge in ‘The Sex Files’ department either.
But for all its faults, I’m not complaining. I laughed long and hard at the cornball script, and screamed and jumped with joy at the lip-smacking nasty shocks. Species II is absolute rubbish but I had a great time watching it. I mean, when was the last time you saw bio-mechanoid oral sex on screen? (Starburst rating: 6)
Species II picture copyright MGM
"Head explosions, torso-burstings, CGI alien shagging - it's all here in lascivious detail"
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