the first Species movie came
out, I thought it was interesting, but deeply flawed.
Shape-shifting Geiger alien, one of whose shapes was attractive
Natasha Henstridge. It was
kind of gory, misogynistic, and seemed to say that if humanity had real
instincts, our vaunted intelligence would be subservient to our
biological drives (a full counter to most of our religions and
philosophies), but the effects were decent enough, if grotesque, and
I’ve always had fun with shape-shifter movies (I believe the Proteus
review covers that, to some degree).
It wasn’t my dear George’s favorite, even though she had
petitioned to go see it, on the recommendation of her brother Sean (the
smartest and friendliest punk-goth I know, or at least he used to be;
he’s a bit more mainstream now, but still smart and friendly).
And now she detests it, and I’m cooled on the movie as a whole.
Even still, I found elements of it quite intriguing.
And Ben Kingsley
played the “heavy,” really, despite Michael Madsen’s character’s
can also remember when Species II
came out, but it was at a bad time for going out to movies.
This was neat, though; another Sil, but male, and they had to use
one of the other frozen embryos to beat him.
I could just imagine the shifter-on-shifter combat, the
government game of cat and mouse…
bad this movie was total crap. I
should have known, after sitting through the rest of my personal Bad
Movie Weekend, that my final selection would prove worthy of the
event’s name. Mind you, my local video store, Dark Star Video, has an
excellent selection of excellent films, both foreign and domestic,
general release and art house, but it also stocks a bunch of crap.
This isn’t to say the owner(s) has indiscriminate tastes, but
there is a place for shlock as well as quality, and hey, if it rents,
you might as well carry it. And
small local businesses need as much help as they can get (including
yours, so stop giving your money to the mega-corporate right-wing
ninnies and check out that corner shop in your neighborhood).
should have had a hint from the preview trailers shown at the start of
the tape. Thank goodness
there were no product ads, but the movies were bad enough.
Dirty Work, Phantasm 6 (“the horror movie with balls”), a few dramas, The
Curse of Inferno (direct to video, starring Pauly Shore and Janeine
Turner, another weaselly-thug-inexplicably connects-with-knockout movie;
I like to call that the Bogart-Joel-Lovett Syndrome, and several of we
internet movie reviewers seem to suffer from it), The
Spree (Jennifer Beals, Powers Boothe and Rita Mareno – how can you
go wrong with a cast like that?), Double
Edge, Major League 3: Back to
the Minors (they made it to 3?), The
Butcher Boy (rather off-kilter, but looks scary, actually), that
recent Tarzan movie with,
inexplicably, Casper Van Dien as Tarzan, A
Perfect Murder (Michael Douglas, again marrying women 1/37th
his age), and Disturbing Behavior.
Can you believe they handled all that in under 8 minutes?
But no, I ignored the signs and portents, and went ahead and
watched the movie, anyway.
open on a camera-fly-by of this big framework space vessel, fronted by a
classic Space Shuttle. Oh,
yes, we can’t ever get away from that design, largely because the
model kits are so cheap. The
rest of the vessel, however, is appropriately non-streamlined, as would
likely be the case should we ever end up constructing something like
that in real life. It also bears the labels of endorsements, providing not only
product placement in the movie, but also making a comment on the
increasing commercialism of even the space program.
Danger! Danger, Will
Robinson! No, wait, maybe
the rest of the movie won’t be so heavy-handed.
Maybe there’s some hope, yet, on the horizon.
in answer to the question, no, I never do learn.
And for warning, I’m going to be explicit in some of my
revelations, i.e. spoiler alert. This
movie doesn’t deserve to have the suspense it’s trying to build.
orbit around Mars, pointing its belly to the planet, the vessel settles
in. Now it’s time to
deploy the lander. Big
doors open up… in the top of the vessel?
Away from the planet? The
hell? The lander jets up,
wasting precious fuel, and then descends – STILL FIRING ITS JETS.
This is such an interesting twist in physics, how you can thrust
in one direction, and then, without changing the vector or intensity of
your thrust, fall in the complete other direction.
The twin sickening crunches of insensible engineering and
stupidly violated physics finally announced to me that this was not
going to be a pleasant experience.
Amusing, perhaps, but not pleasant.
the lander settles toward Mars, we see our heroic First Man on Mars,
Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard, from a bunch of movies I've never really
heard of and Universal Soldier:
The Return), and his flight crew (nobody remembers the flight crew,
but everybody remembers the first ones down.
Aldrin and Armstrong, and who stayed up in the orbiter?
See what I mean). Since
they actually do have roles in the rest of the film, the crew is Anne
Sampas (Myriam Cyr, from France and Israel and Roger Corman's Frankenstein
Unbound) and Dennis Gamble (Mykelti Williamson, all the way from Streets
of Fire to Ali, with a brief stop at Free
Willy 2). They chat
with Mission Control as Patrick heads down.
Wait a minute: where’s the light-speed delay?
Radio waves are not instantaneous, and it’s an incredible
distance to Mars. I
haven’t crunched the numbers, but there’s got to be at least a few
seconds lag between when a message is sent from Earth and reaches the
ship around Mars, depending on where each planet is with respect to the
other in orbit. Ye canna
change the laws of physics without inventing a new technology, but these
folks apparently don’t know that.
looks overwhelmed at the enormity of his mission, but he certainly looks
spiffy in his bright red vacuum suit and his bubble helmet (which, in
later scenes, inexplicably disappears when he looks out a window, and
then his red suit turns standard white when he leaves the lander; where
was the continuity person in all this?).
The lander, um, lands, and then they wheel out these cheap little
robots. Why does he need
robots? I know there are
NASA instructions to commit to robot exploration, but come on, you’ve
got a perfectly good human right there!
Then Patrick leaves the lander through a blank, flat, swing-out
door. Apparently, NASA is
building their planetary exploration landers out of parts from the local
Home Depot. Lander Doors! With windows! Only
robots are there for two purposes: to set up the video feed for Man’s
First Step on Mars, and to drill out some earth samples.
Now, the video camera thing, I can almost understand; it would be
good to have a video feed for the public interest angle, to continue
support for the space program. But
wouldn’t it be simpler to just equip your man with a hand-held
driller? Especially since
he has to follow the little robot around and transfer each sample it
drills into a hand-held carrying case.
With that kind of manual involvement, you might as well have the
guy do the whole thing. Particularly since you leave the robots behind!
Why? It cost the
government at least a few bucks to make them (probably millions, no
matter how cheap they look), and it’s not like you didn’t have a
perfectly good human to load them in.
I mean, the reason we abandoned the previous robots is because
there was never a planned return trip; this time, there’s a definite
return trip, so there’s not a need to leave lots of expensive
equipment behind. In fact, the robots are the only things left behind.
yet, when the lander (the whole thing) gets up to the ship, doors open
IN THE BOTTOM of the craft hangar.
Let me get this straight; you built two sets of doors when one
would have done, made one exit and one entrance… for what reason, now?
No really, explain it to me.
Twice as much potential for error, for break-down, and a very
suspicious methodology in deployment.
What manual does this appear in?
Oh, wait, that’s right, this was a NASA project.
That explains everything.
while this has been going on, there’s cut-away shots to the crowds on
Earth, celebrating the First Man on Mars.
Including Peter Boyle in a mental institution, throwing
furniture, sort of a throwback to Dream
Team, but without the nudity. Boy,
here I thought he was doing well enough on Everybody
Loves Raymond, but no, he was forced to do this piece of crap.
Actually, his lunacy, while not comic, provides a touch of action
in an otherwise profoundly slow and stupid section of the movie.
One can almost forgive the parroting of insane “scientific
conclusions” the writers gave him later on.
Boy, I’m thinking the movie should have been set entirely where
it was written: in the loony bin. Instead, we just get momentary glimpses.
the astronauts are preparing to leave orbit, one of their samples breaks
free, but they do not hear a darn thing.
Apparently, deafness was considered an acceptable flaw in our
finest space-goers. Intelligent
sludge stalks through the ship in a tense, gripping action scene leading
to taut suspense… ah, who am I kidding?
It takes far too long for things to happen, and when they do,
they’re not worth it. However,
finally, everybody is off and running to Earth.
We skip forward to when the shuttle disengages from the rest of
the apparatus, and goes in for landing.
I suppose the rest of it either drifts into orbit or shoots off
into the sun, to gradually add to the heat-death of the universe.
Dear God, let it come soon!
As you can see, the movie is already having its effect.
astronauts are given physicals, and then are put under quarantine, which
apparently means they can’t have sex for two weeks.
What? I though
quarantine was when you wanted to make sure there were no infectious
agents, not just STDs. You
can transmit a heck of a lot without sexual contact, people!
But then, you wouldn’t have the risk of this kind of plague,
now, would we? So they’re
forbidden to Do It, and then let free, to spread those space germs far
and wide. Oh, except they gave their word not to, you know, and as we
all know, solemn vows are never, ever broken.
Especially not by hot-blooded young military guys.
any case, we cut to Natasha Henstridge (reprising her alien role from
the first movie) strapped naked in a complicated bondage chair.
Unfortunately, it’s not as fun as it sounds. However, the chair does have a full-motion mounting, going up
and down and sliding around. They
used this motion to gas her with some kind of caustic agent. The hell? Why
put all that engineering into a custom gimballed PlayChair™ when
you’re just going to use it for something that you could use, oh, a
Lay-Z-Boy™ for? That’s
the government for you. Anyway,
so they gas her, and then the lead scientist, Dr. Laura Baker (Marg
Helgenberger, from the first movie and CSI),
calls a halt to the proceedings. Seems
this time, she’s more personally connected to the test subject, Eve
(which name makes more sense than Sil.
What was Sil, short for Silver?
Silmarillion? Silective? Silly?);
she’s raised Eve in a male-free environment, so her mating instinct
doesn’t get triggered. Which,
actually, doesn’t mean she couldn’t have sexual feelings, just not
that male-triggered reproductive drive.
Which, by the way, would put it in an entirely different class of
movie, but we can’t review those here.
In any case, she’s protective of her charge.
turns out that the alien DNA enables her to eventually acclimate to any
chemical agent that might otherwise kill her.
It’s not that she can’t be killed, it’s more like if she
can survive exposure for long enough, she develops immunity.
This is a problem for the Pentagon guys, represented by Colonel
Carter Burgess Jr. (though his name was never fully mentioned, played by
George Dzundza, with a hugely fake-looking white eye device; I’ve seen
the man in Crimson Tide, Dangerous Minds,
and a bunch of TV, and he had no such appearance.
Apparently, they couldn’t afford a good eye patch).
They see Eve as nothing more than a lab rat, but Dr. Laura has
gone to lengths to avoid that approach, seeing how well it worked with
night, the astronauts are being given this lovely state dinner in their
honor, generally sponsored by Ross’s father, the Congressman (James
Cromwell, a long way from Babe;
heck, he’s a long way from Star
Trek: First Contact). Although
Ross comes with his beautiful blonde fiancée, he is almost immediately
shown rolling around with some older brunette woman.
Who is she? Did she
just pick him up? How did
she have time? Does she
have a name? All questions
which are never answered. It’s
not really important, though it’s annoying that such a pivotal scene
is so shoe-horned in. He’s
breaking his promise to stay clean for the quarantine, but he’s not
even doing it with his loved one. Yeah,
I feel for his pain, I really empathize with his regret and remorse.
he finally gets pulled back to the dinner, gives a creepy speech, and
next thing we know, he’s going up to the woman’s room, where she and
her personal assistant are waiting.
This has moderate interest factor, until you realize later that
they’re just tag-teaming. Not
that it’s not sexy in its way (if that’s what you’re into), but
part of the fun of a threesome is mixing it all up, all the logistics of
an extra body, that kind of thing. The tag-team method is less effective, because after the
first, you’re just more sleepy than anything else, so you don’t
usually have enough energy to deal with a fresh woman coming to bed. Er, or at least, that’s what I’ve heard.
there’s a bit of nudity, and the movie’s progressing nicely
(logistics aside), but it goes wrong oh, so suddenly. We’ve seen what female aliens are like when they reproduce,
from the first movie; apparently male aliens are more vicious, and tip
their hands way early. Not
that time is all that much of a factor, because onset of symptoms is
almost instant. So it’s
an Alien-style chest-burster effect, but not in the chest.
Eeewww. Also, there
are tentacles, for no good reason. What’s the point of that?
Other than audience gross-out, that is.
the same time, Eve is experiencing elevated responses, but doesn’t
know why. It seems to take
forever for any scientists to follow up on this; wouldn’t this be a
situation that demands instant research?
Further, after all this, Ross apparently does a good clean-up
job. No mention of those
two women is ever made, and all we see of the results is Ross leading
these two little boys (yes, that fast) into a barn or something.
Apparently, he just leaves them there.
Yes, this is the father of the master race.
NASA doctor (Baxter Harris, in a step up from his usual background
cop/coroner role) discovers something wrong with Ross’s blood, and
tries to contact Peter Boyle, but the man’s in his nightly
straight-jacket, and can’t come to the phone.
However, the blood figures out how to kill him, anyway.
Smart blood, that. But
not smart enough to eliminate all the DNA traces!
So now, the Pentagon is tipped that there’s another alien out
there. Nice going, blood,
you big dope. And the hunt
is on! Which means we have
to assemble the hunters, again.
we cut to a SWAT team assault on an embassy, or something.
It’s all very neat and military, and then Mike Madsen, as
Preston Lennox, steps out and starts making a presentation to some
assembled dignitaries. Seems
he’s gone private sector, although this is a bit high-profile for a
former Government Assassin. Something
along the lines of Martin Blank’s operation in Grosse
Point Blank is more of what I would expect.
But then again, I might also expect some basic engineering
knowledge, and we’ve seen how that was handled.
Lennox is roped in by the offer of a million dollars, tax free
(can the Government do that? And
if they’ve got that kind of money to offer a guy for one job, why the
heck can’t I get a refund from the IRS?).
It’s too bad they couldn’t see clear to get Forest Whitaker
in on this one, but then again, he’s got a bit too much independent
cred after Ghost Dog.
Plus, he’s too smart for this movie.
Carter and Lennox get into Eve’s no-males-allowed work space, and Dr.
Baker (quite rightly, actually) demands that they leave.
We get a bit of arguing that wants to be banter between Lennox
and Baker, as their relationship obviously went south not long after the
last movie. But they have
to work together: the Pentagon demands it!
So they figure out that the dead NASA doctor called for Peter
Boyle, and they go and talk to the loon.
know he’s a loon, because he starts spouting off “scientific
conclusions” that nobody can reasonably assess.
Of course, the movie being what it is, his “conclusions” are
accurate with regard to the plot, and serve to explain the background of
the alien attack, and that’s why the Government had him committed, to
keep him out of their business. Excepting for the moment the idea that the Government would
bother committing him, when a bullet in the brain would be much cheaper,
I have to take exception to his science.
Sure, it’s valid to theorize about the possibility of life on
Mars, based on the 1996 meteorite find, but what’s this nonsense about
carbon-based elements found only in a different galaxy?
I wasn’t aware that we had much in the way of materials science
from much beyond our immediate star system, much less such specific
analysis. And I know the
evidence in the meteorite was on the level of cellular fossils, largely
microscopic; how do you reasonably extrapolate a whole biome out of
that, with any reasonable accuracy, much less what happened to it?
And the military has strategic plans for Mars.
Just so you all know. After
all, while there’s no enemy that far out, and a military base on the
moon would not only be cheaper but would be in a much better strike
range, Mars is the planet of war. Let’s
just leave it at that.
and by the way, in the first movie, the alien DNA was produced by humans
using data transmitted to the SETI receivers, along with a catalyst for
methane, to turn it into a technological energy source.
Now it’s being portrayed as a plague that already killed the
life off of Mars. So, which
is it? Both? I could
see that, perhaps, but the methodology is completely different. In the first movie, you had to be born to it to be an alien.
That brought out the whole nature vs. nurture conflict, and put
the time pressure on the team to find Sil before she reproduced.
Now, the method of initial transmission is vastly different,
enabling a full-grown human to be changed into a human/alien hybrid.
Forget the reproductive angle at first; import some of that
sludge, and your goals are accomplished.
Waiting for the biological process to work is so slow, even for
the hottie-killing superman alien; it doesn’t make sense to have an
infection vector that leads to a much less efficient methodology.
But at the heart of it, man, it wouldn’t be possible for the
script to actually have a thematic connection to the first movie, would
it? Of course not.
at this point in the movie, we realize that allowing Eve to have a more
“normal” existence means that she loves crap, too, judging by her
normal TV habits. Just like
a typical American. If they
let her have Internet access, I bet she loves the Stomp Tokyo
mega-sites! (yes, yes,
I’m shameless, let’s just accept it and move on.)
now they’re on the hunt for the Mars astronauts.
But it’s the night that their STD quarantine expires. Ross has already tried to confide in his hard-butt pol
father, after he broke quarantine that one night, but to no avail.
He’s with his way-too-obliging girlfriend, Sampas is with her
husband, and Gamble’s picked up some fine woman.
There is supposed to be some kind of tension, but we know the
movie’s only half over (only half?
Feels like I’ve been watching this for days!), so we know Ross
won’t get caught. He has
to keep the pressure on, after all. The ensuing pseudo-action does bring up a question; how the
heck is this thing supposed to propagate itself if it keeps killing
those who it touches? Except
for Ross, of course, but that’s because he’s the lead in the movie.
when Ross wakes up, he finds himself covered in blood, his girl dead
beside him. He does the
logical thing; takes a shotgun, goes out on the porch, and uses it on
himself. This is probably
the goriest but yet coolest bit in the movie.
In no way does it excuse the rest of the film, mind you, but
seeing the head explode, and then build itself up again from the inside
out… and they leave the blood-line accurately!
So, after blowing away his own brain, the brain that is
re-constructed has significantly fewer scruples, and so he takes the
doe-eyed boy who is left (there’s always a doe-eyed boy left,
afterward), and takes him down to stay with the other two.
We never see what he does with the bodies, you understand.
Later on, when he starts preying on strippers and prostitutes
(kudos, by the way, for showing a strip club that is relatively
accurate, as compared to the clubs in, say The Hidden or Innocent Blood,
which really don’t hold water compared to what little I’ve seen of
reality), they realize there’s a serial killer on the loose, but I
can’t tell if it’s because they’ve started to find bodies, or if
it’s because the girls just disappear.
This is the kind of grisly detail that is, in practical terms,
important, yet gets glossed over in most movies.
Here, it’s glossed over to the point of being mostly ignored.
Which it really shouldn’t be, because, man, that’s a lot of
kids he’s got, at the one point that you see them all.
during this time, Eve is agitated.
She wants to help, but she’s, you know, a lab rat.
So they offer to put her through this process where they’ll
“activate her alien genes.” Activate
her genes? This isn’t
going to be like that thing with the electric dance belt, is it?
But seriously, apparently her genes are located in the
middle of her brain, because they have this extensive set-up with lasers
and radial tomography and all that crap.
You know, I’d think something that organic would be better
served with an injection. Physics
to Chemistry to Biology, that’s the steps, I believe.
But no, they want to skip over a step.
What do you expect from folks who can’t even put together a
believable Mars lander, when you’ve already got ample historical
she starts homing in on his actions, seeing through his eyes. She uses this to give the field team a fix on where the man
is. He homes in on a woman
in a supermarket. Man, kind
of an obvious place to pick someone up, don’t you think?
You know, security tapes, all that?
And why fixate on just this one woman?
We’ve already seen in the first movie that the alien instinct
turns down those with faulty genes or transmissible diseases (and
indeed, this is restated in this movie), but come on, why follow this
woman all the way back to the produce aisle?
And then attack her and drag her through the building… to the
outside? The heck?
It’s a busy parking lot, you’d think someone would see all
this, with her screaming and all that.
Damn, his technique is sloppy.
If it was going to be this much trouble, you’d think he’d
pick someone else. I mean,
come on, Ross, your blood was smarter than this on its own!
Man, what else did you lose when you blew your head off?
But, of course, even though the Most Inept
Kidnapper/Rapist/Murderer can’t keep his victim quiet, the Goon Squad
still goes a knockin’ on the wrong van a’rockin’.
And I mean, come on, how likely is that, anyway, in the middle of
a supermarket parking lot?
the key is, Ross has a chance to see through Eve’s eyes, too. Duh, it works both ways, kids!
So he gives himself up to get inside, and when he does, he breaks
free and runs to find Eve. Oh,
the heat! I’ve never seen
two people less involved with each other try to fake sexual passion.
Oh, wait, yes I have: the shower scene in The Specialist. Crikey.
Anyway, so when nobody will open the door for him, he gets all
psycho, and then has to flee. And
he gets away, surprisingly, when later on, Eve (yes, she must break out,
didn’t you see that coming?) has very stiff competition.
now we’re getting down to the wire, and the kids are going into
cocoons to undergo metamorphoses into adults.
Eve is, like, pacing her cage like a beast.
Finally, she decides to bust out, and she makes a decent showing
of it (and no, I’m not making a crack about her undies, though others
should take the tip that when breaking out of a high-security
installation bare-handed, it’s better to wear pants, rather than an
admittedly lovely sun-dress), until she gets peppered with lead up on
the surface. But then
she’s up! She’s up and
bullets are just another vector that she has to analyze and eliminate.
After that, not even the kinetic energy of the bullets seems to
affect her. What? Even monster-Sil had to deal with bullets knocking her
around. So Eve, you can
deal with the impact trauma, sure, but what biological adaptation allows
you to negate inertia? Sign
me up for that one, baby! I
could make millions, just in the car safety devices!
Not to mention military applications…
but anyway, after proving she’s bra-less in a slow-motion
running scene, she hops into a Jeep, and takes off.
Seems her favorite show is Dukes
of Hazard (“round about this time, that Eve was cookin’ up a
mess of trouble…”), so she can drive like a maniac.
Except she doesn’t; that would put the movie over-budget.
And except that wouldn’t work; if it did, I would have been an
expert stunt driver by the time I was 13.
know people go on about the idiocy of Hollywood movies, but it seems
especially prevalent when you’re dealing with science fiction.
I realize it’s not always the fault of the writers, because
scripts get adulterated far beyond reason, but without knowing the
back-story, it’s hard to know who to blame.
Regardless, it has always seemed to be a general attitude in
Hollywood that “it’s sci-fi; who cares if it makes sense?”
Look, pally, just because you can’t understand Anthony or
Asimov or Herbert or Niven or Van Vogt or pretty much anybody quality
doesn’t mean that SF doesn’t make sense, it just means that you
can’t deal with anything longer than a one-page double-spaced summary.
My sister said once that people who don’t understand a movie
generally say it’s stupid. I
would also say that people who try to make an SF movie without
understanding the source are doomed to make a stupid movie.
seems to think people want “Doc” Smith’s Lensmen,
when we were capable of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s
Game a while ago. Not
that Smith isn’t a fun read, in a juvenile frame of mind, but
there’s no reason to turn off the brain just because a story has SF
elements. If anything, good SF stories are all the more rigorous in
terms of self-consistency. Why
not SF movies or TV? Because
people are lazy, I’d imagine. Granted,
there are people who try to stick to the ground rules, at least, but
they’re few in far between. On
TV, for all their flaws, Andromeda
and Dark Angel give it a shot, though I’ve given up on E:FC
or any of the Star Trek franchise for maintaining technical consistency.
Buffy and Angel,
Babylon 5, and that superhero/love story Now and Then were pretty good on that count, Quantum Leap only really had one gimmick to worry about, and Sliders
stayed fairly true for the first couple of seasons.
Those are all exceptions. In
movies, the rule-breakers are too numerous to count.
point being, it frustrates the hell out of me.
For all the intelligent fiction I read, I have to sit through
dumbed-down visual media, where the relative scientific accuracy of Evolution
shines through. Why is it
that a movie getting the number of base pairs in terrestrial DNA right
counts as a victory in my mind? Have
my expectations sunk so low? Apparently
so. You would think it
would be simple to get modern science right, and trickier to project
futuristic developments (a la Strange
Days), but you really have to shake your head when they can’t even
get today’s facts correct.
back to the review. Sorry
about the diatribe; just call me Mr. Tangent.
the break-out, it doesn’t surprise me that she finds where he is;
there is that psychic link, and all.
What does surprise me is that she’s lost her undies somewhere. There’s a lot of H. R. Giger (the famous artist who
designed the Alien aliens and
the first Species)
model-work, or maybe it’s CGI; whenever you’re dealing with those Alien-like
designs, it can be hard to tell. This
is the first actual alien-sex scene I can recall (as opposed to the
dream-images of the first one), and it’s… not pleasant.
Not that you would expect it to be, especially given the earlier
portions of the movie. I suppose it’s supposed to seem primal, but when it’s not
ugly, it’s just dull. Come
on, they’re supposed to be a form of shape-shifter.
Not hugely plastic, perhaps, but still, they’re sticking to the
fairly conventional. Er,
relatively speaking. When
it comes down to it, they’re pretty wimpy as shape-shifting critters;
they seem to kill best by stealth.
Unlike Sil, who was hell on wheels when she got going.
Then there’s a last-ditch effort to stop the spread, and then a
climatic battle, and then the thoroughly stupid denouement, involving
way too many people in an ambulance (there’s no place to hide in those
things, people; they’re built for efficiency, not for concealment)
and, at this late point, what seems like a Spring-Loaded Cat™.
And then the old chestnut, “it’s not really over
because…” just like the squirming teddy bear in Screamers. And just as useless.
suppose I should comment on the people behind the scenes.
Director Peter Medak was responsible for a heck of a lot of TV,
including some Space 1999, Hart
to Hart, Crime Story, Beauty and the
Beast, China Beach, and
an episode of The Return of the
Saint. He also did a
couple of episodes of Kindred:
The Embraced. I suppose
he must have done the best he could with what he had to work with, but
come on, a man of his experience must have been embarrassed with the
final product; I'm surprised it's not an Alan Smithee film.
Dennis Feldman (listed on the IMDb as responsible for
"characters") wrote and produced Just
One of the Guys, The Golden
Child, and the first Species. I'm conflicted over the first two, but you would have thought
that the author of the first screenplay would have been able to get the
freaking background details correct!
Chris Brancato also stands accused of writing several
episodes of Beverly Hills, 90210, and The
X-Files, as well as creating the TV series First Wave. Besides
establishing the Spelling connection with Medak, I don't know what that
means as to his culpability in this wretched mess.
is not a very friendly movie. The
first film seemed to want make some argument about instinct and
intellect, predators and humanity, while this one just seemed to be an
excuse for gore and dreadful violence against women.
Eve is more of a puppet, even when she becomes more alien,
she’s at the mercy of her counterpart.
The first movie had enough buttons to push, this one takes those
and moves even farther down the line.
It’s ugly and weak, and the numerous pretty faces and bosoms
and butts of the essentially disposable actresses tend to actually bring
it down, counter to general expectations for nudity.
Well, my personal general expectations, anyway.
It’s sad when a shapely actress baring all can’t make it a
more pleasant viewing experience. But
then, that’s perhaps the point of the exercise, to further demonize
promiscuous sex. Maybe.
If it has a point at all.
came close to a Flair on this one, but in the long run, it’s more
likely to put you to sleep than it is likely to make you whack your
neighbor, thereby avoiding the fate.
However, individual results may vary.