Species II (1998) [Blu-Ray]

speciesii

Director Peter Medak follows up the somewhat tolerable original “Species” with a sequel that ups the ante in the narrative but doesn’t improve the story all that much. This time around Medak and co. completely abandon the idea of a genetically altered alien this time around for a much more traditional yet sexually charged alien invasion. When Commander Ross returns home from a space expedition with other astronaut explorers, the highly decorated man is revealed to have been taken over by an alien being. Said alien being is based around procreation. As Commander Ross slowly transforms in to an alien being, he begins scouring the city for sexual mates and turning them in to breeders for his army of off spring that begin populating the landscape.

Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger return as the original characters from the first film, trying to chase down Ross and stop the sexual predator while also trying to uncover what his ultimate end goal is. Of course what would “Species” be without Natasha Henstridge? This time around she appears as the clone of the original alien Sil named Eve, who works as a general confidant and ally with the detectives a la Hannibal Lecter, and eventually fares heavily in to the narrative when the alien commander decides Eve would offer the perfect offspring as the ideal sexual partner. “Species II” is a sub-par follow up which repeats the same beats as the original film. It doesn’t really re-think the premise, rather than completely flip the formula, focusing on a more developed and detailed male alien being who ends up being so much more vicious and deadly predator than Henstridge’s Sil.

There really isn’t a lot more focus on Sil, as she acts mainly as a plot device given less to do this time around as we follow Madsen and Helgenberger, both of whom are kind of a pseudo-Mulder and Scully for the duration of the film. “Species II” is only a worthy extension of the original film’s narrative for hardcore fans of the “Species” series, as it adds the possiblity of more Henstrdge clones, which isn’t a bad thing, but when all is said and done does little to advance on the mythology. It’s a pretty monotonous science fiction horror film all things considered.

The Scream Factory Blu-Ray comes with a feature length audio commentary with Peter Medak who does a good job of offering explanation of his involvement in the movie and how he worked on the script. “From Sil to Eve” is a very good sixteen minute interview with Natasha Henstridge who discusses her experience working on the movie and what it did for her career. “Creature Creations” is a thirty minute look at the creature effects, and gore created for the film. “Alien Evolution” is a very good nineteen minute interview with screenwriter Chris Brancato who discusses how he got in to film, and graduated from television. As well he also discusses how he reworked the ending to “Species II.” There are thirteen minutes of special effects outtakes which feature rough cuts from the workprint footage of special effects to the film. There are eight minutes of additional scenes cut from the original print of “Species II,” and finally a still gallery of behind the scenes and pre-production concept work. Finally there’s the original theatrical trailer.