Species II (review)

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Houston, We Have a Clunker

If you’re of any kind of scientific bent and in need of a good laugh, I can heartily recommend Species II. The science here is so outrageously ridiculous that I hardly know where to begin.

A biologist (Peter Boyle, slumming it) horrendously misuses the word “organic” — that’s like having an automobile mechanic not know what “metallic” means. Astronauts orbiting Mars communicate with Earth with no time delay (actually the one-way delay would be between 11 and 14 minutes) — sorta like mailing a letter to a friend today and having him receive it last week. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Okay, so lots of movies get away with scientific inaccuracy. But they make up for it with engaging characters and a ripping yarn. Does Species II attempt even these rudiments of storytelling? In a word, no.
Astrodude Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard), the first man on Mars (to which he came “for all humankind” and planted an American flag), returns to Earth feeling a little funky. See, on Mars he was infected with alien DNA, which compels him now to have sex with as many young, attractive, large-breasted women as will lie still for him, so that he can impregnate them with little alien monsters who will gestate and be born before he’s even finished his cigarette. Fortunately, Patrick is hot and hunky (if your idea of hot and hunky is Playgirl beefcake) and about 25 — so we are saved from having to watch someone like, say, John Glenn, hump away with endless bimbos. Never you mind that Patrick is unlikely to have gotten his historic job (the Mars thing, not the sex thing) on merit — probably his father, a powerful U.S. senator (Babe‘s James Cromwell — dude, what were you thinking?) had something to do with it.

Stupid plot point involving Patrick: When the authorities finally cop on to the fact that the first man on Mars may be responsible for all the dead women lying around with their wombs ripped open by alien monsters birthing themselves, they put out an APB for the most newsworthy man of the century. And yet despite the fact that Patrick has gotta have the most famous face in the world and is out cruising for women in public, not one single person recognizes him.

The president of the United States is played in once scene by Richard Belzer, so you might be forgiven for suspecting that the filmmakers are having us on, but Species II just keeps getting more and more absurd. There’s Eve (Natasha Henstridge), a clone of the alien from Species who’s kept locked in a laboratory guarded and studied only by women. See, she has a stupefying effect on men — they all want to have sex with her, and their presence sends her into heat, which I guess is supposed to be a bad thing, but the movie never explains. The basic premise seems to be that our world is in mortal danger thanks to men who can’t keep their pants zipped (but then we already knew that, and no aliens are really necessary). Oh, and she does have big boobs, and she gets to have sex with Patrick.

Stupid plot point involving Eve: When Eve finally makes her escape into the outside world — she has been locked indoors from birth — she hops in a truck and zooms off. How does she know how to drive? One character explains: Her favorite show is The Dukes of Hazard. (By this argument, I am a doctor because my favorite show is ER.)

But they can act, right? Our stars Justin Lazard and Natasha Henstridge? This young, virile stud and this statuesque blonde bring some nuance to clichéd characters, some punch to a padded-out plot, right? Well, again, alas, the answer is no. And on top of them (not literally, of course — Patrick and Eve are on top of each other, actually), there’s Michael Madsen as an alien bounty hunter called — I kid you not — Press Lenox. I was wrong when I said that Delmot Mulroney was the least charismatic actor in Hollywood — it’s Madsen.

Species was such a smash, I guess, that the filmmakers felt obliged to make Species II. And unfortunately, the ending of this one makes it obvious that they’re planning No. 3. I only hope it’s as funny as this one. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

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