Species II

on April 10, 1998 by Dwayne E. Leslie
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   Following the success of 1995's "Species" is a sequel that doesn't measure up. It's not so much that only Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger return for the second install; the greater problem is that the film builds to an inevitable ending, yet leaves audiences with a bad taste in their mouths because the driving dictate seems to be to leave "Species II" open for a "III." Even fans of the first will be so disappointed by this film that the only way they will want to see that third-part conclusion is on video.
   What those fans will return here to see most of all is the sexiest alien in history, Sil (Henstridge). But what they get are just glimpses of her that do nothing more than repeatedly tease to the point of annoyance. There are, however, great special effects; children tearing their way through the bellies of their mothers only minutes after the seed had been planted and a full alien morph at the end of the film are stand-out scenes.
   No longer called Sil in this story, the cloned human/alien is named Eve. Her basic purpose is for the military to learn, through experiments, what can kill the alien should they decide to come to earth. Instead of Eve being the one on the prowl for a mate, as in "Species," Tale II centers on the leader of a crew back from the first manned mission to Mars. Patrick (Justin Lazard) hasn't been himself since the mission and finds that his body has new cravings. As the days pass, it becomes clearly evident to everyone that an alien entity similar to Eve is using his body as a host. Racing against time, the doctors resort to awakening Eve's dormant alien traits to aid them. Once the alien learns of Eve's existence, though, he sets out to find and mate with her. If they do, nothing on earth will be able to stop their offspring. But a "to be continued..." hangs over the proceedings, stalling out the story's engines.    Starring Natasha Henstridge, Justin Lazard, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger and Mykelti Williamson. Directed by Peter Medak. Written by Chris Brancato. Produced by Frank Mancuso Jr. An MGM release. SF. Rated R for strong sexuality, sci-fi violence/gore and language. Running time: 93 min.
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