Species II (1998)

Species_III never actually understood the appeal of the first two “Species” film. The first film basically piggybacked on the revelation of sex bomb shell Natash Henstridge who incidentally ended up being a one note actress, and then the series inevitably fizzled out in to obscurity. Natasha Henstridge looks about as incredible as ever, and as Eve she presents a surprisingly significant change in personality and demeanor. This is a new shade of the monster where as Sil was much more “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” based around its predatorial habits, Eve is The Creature in “The Creature Walks Among Us,” still vicious but much more vulnerable and open to humanity, for better or for worse. It’s easy to buy that Sil and Eve are different entities, and Henstridge carries this career making role well and looks dynamite with shorter hair.

But you have to appreciate their chutzpah for trying to take a successful film that was a success thanks a gorgeous woman and some classic scifi moments, and copied it with a sequel. “Species II” is a confusing and convoluted mess that takes the exact same premise from the first film except changes the sex. Instead of a gorgeous naive woman evolving and looking for new prey for her offspring while leaving a wake of blood in her path, we now meet a more aggressive alpha male who is a well respected individual whose own animal allure brings him to the doors of sexy women and birthing bundles of alien joys. Sitting down to watch it thirteen years after my parents dragged me to see it in theaters, “Species II” is basically the same movie.

Rather than bothering with a new cast, however, the producers bring back the two core protagonists and expand the cast in to clichés and typical genre molds, all of whom are on the hunt for their alien Tom cat who is hording his own offspring. When three astronauts go to Mars to collect samples of the Mars terrain, an alien symbiote–excuse me: Spider-Man flash back–an alien DNA sample sneaks on board and infects the entire crew turning them in to sex starved drones.  The respect commander Burgess has given in to his urges and is now turning every woman he can bed, in to his own jack in the box for his children. From there on, once we grab an idea of the general premise, we’re left wondering why the damn alien didn’t do this in the beginning. Granted, the original film was clever in its concept, but “Species II” just continues with the same doldrums. So much so, it’s barely capable of being written about. And for reasons not known until the finale, Henstridge is back.

This time she’s a clone of the original Sil named Eve who dons shorter locks (I just assumed Sil took on a natural form and wasn’t too concerned with hairstyles) who is being used as a test subject to discover how to kill the aliens. Why create another new adult form of this alien just to kill it, at risk of it breaking out and starting its killing spree all over again? Who knows? But I guess Henstridge had to be back for folks who enjoyed the original film. Granted, the fate of Eve adds a very “The Creature Walks Among Us” element of tragedy and horror, but this new version is utterly useless. Michael Madsen is about as wooden as ever delivering every line with a mumble and stilted exhausted pacing, while Mykelti Williamson does nothing but scream at every sight and add a Samuel L. Jackson vibe as Madsen stumbles against time to stop the monster Burgess from re-producing.

The ultimate master plan paired with the final scene that wreaks of anime influenced alien rape is lacking in any real tension or originality, and I found myself wondering why I had to sit through the same movie all over again when I barely enjoyed the first one to begin with. Thankfully after the second film in the series, this idea faded in to a realm it belonged in, in the first place: Direct to Video hell. While Natasha Henstridge was a dynamite beauty with incredible sex appeal, not even she could keep this series afloat, and she sadly did not go on to much better things subsequent this series mainstream end. “Species II” is a clone of the first film except with a small twist, and while it does get points for adding depth to Sil’s clone, it fails in being remotely thrilling or entertaining.