Having recently watched Peter Medak in ‘The Ghost of Peter Sellers‘, I could only envision how insignificant the maelstrom of egos between Michael Madsen and Natasha Henstridge must’ve been in comparison to Sellers’ manipulative megalomania. Luckily, the most vanity Medak probably had to massage was the angles at which Henstridge’s rather melon-like breasts were to be photographed for utmost ampleness. Whereas the 1995 film was a slightly more dignified science-fiction skin flick, the oafishly glandular ‘Species II‘ sheds any notion of A-list credence for wanton violence, splatter effects and gyrating nudity. And under that criteria, it is a modestly racy upgrade were it not for a very preliminary shotgun-blast head regeneration.
Instead of an earthbound beginning, Medak gazes upward towards the symbiotic attachment of the extraterrestrial invaders on Mars. Some of the matte paintings and special effects of the capsule on the red planet’s surface are undeniably specious but no one should be lambasting it for verisimilitude. However, Medak doesn’t violate outer-space inertia with the American flag seemingly immobile once planted in the soil.
Ironically, Peter Boyles’ character is named Dr. Herman Cromwell while James Cromwell is the slime-glopola monster’s father. Why are comedians like Richard Belzer (with a flagrant Ronald Reagan impression as the president) and Bill Boggs in unintentionally campy cameo appearances? Ridley Scott must’ve embraced the inkblot-infestation concept for alien transportation for ‘Prometheus’.
Tethered to a laboratory seat with straps strategically ensconced over her bosoms, Henstridge is not the menace she was in the predecessor. In fact, she plays Eve like a pouting housewife who is craving a vacation in wine country. Other than glimpses at her television binges, Eve is barely a second banana let alone an ovulating co-lead. Justin Lazard is equally vanilla and hollow as Patrick Ross, the dashing astronaut who metamorphoses into the slatternly creature. With his hedonism and blank expression, Lazard could be a brainchild of Bret Easton Ellis.
The glistening highlights of Steve Johnson’s exuberant make-up are a breached womb from a menage a trois and tentacles streaming from Patrick’s back. Madsen and Marg Helgenberger stroll the picture with only a modicum of integrity and a plethora of payola. Most of the close-ups on Madsen are wincing acknowledgements of Chris Brancato’s howlers (“So let me guess. They told you to shove it up your ass.”). If your kink is hentai pornography, the spasming extremities in ‘Species II‘ will be an aphrodisiac.