Film (1998). Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Directed by Peter Medak. Written by Chris Brancato. Cast includes James Cromwell, Marg Helgenberger, Natasha Henstridge, Justin Lazard, Michael Madsen and Mykelti Williamson. 93 minutes. Colour.
Although released theatrically, Species II plays more like a direct-to-video sequel to Species (1995). On the first manned mission to Mars, astronauts collect rock samples which contain mysterious Alien goo. The goo infects team leader Patrick Ross (Lazard) on the return flight, he becomes a half-alien sexual predator compelled to father as many monstrous children as possible. Back on earth, the government becomes concerned when Ross' sexual partners start turning up dead with exploded wombs, so experienced alien-hunters Press Lennox (Madsen) and Laura Baker (Helgenberger) are hired to track down and subdue him. A Clone of the first film's human/alien hybrid Sil (this one called Eve) is used to locate Ross via a convenient psychic link (see Psi Powers), but she becomes attracted to him and breaks free of her facility. Amidst pulsating cocoons, Eve and Ross shed their human forms and mate, but they are discovered and destroyed by the hunters (who wield a wholly implausible "DNA gas" that fatally rewrites the aliens' genetic code). A single offspring survives to start the cycle afresh.
Any intellectual pretensions that Species may have displayed are dropped in this sequel, a sexually charged variation of The Quatermass Experiment (1953). The film is considerably gorier than its predecessor, and the special effects rather better. Director Medak is an experienced journeyman of fantastic film and television. The novelization is Species II: A Novel (1998) by Yvonne Navarro. [JN]
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