Aliens Attack Again! Species II Edition

Apparently Species was not enough so here we have Species II – also available on instant Netflix.

One-line Review: More nudity + less coherence + James Cromwell = meh

Species II (1998) – Rated R

“This 1998 sequel follows Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard), an astronaut on his way back to Earth after a mission to Mars. It seems that Ross picked up something on his voyage: an alien virus that’s causing his DNA to mutate, transforming him into a randy crossbreed intent on world domination through procreation. Can authorities stop him before he mates with Eve (Natasha Henstridge), a government-created clone of her human-alien hybrid mother?”

For the (inevitable) sequel to Species, the directing reins passed to veteran TV director Peter Medak. Rather obviously Species II decides to explore the male side of the equation. This allows the film to shamelessly pander to male fantasy scenarios. Yes I know the first one did that but this practically starts with an impromptu threesome.

Sil has been recreated as Eve, a rather unfortunate name given that the object is to have her NOT be impregnated. Apparently women of Sil’s race are created through genetic engineering (thus allowing a succession of possible roles for Natasha Henstridge) but men are created through contact with Martian slime. Why was this slime on Mars just waiting for astronauts to encounter it? Well it seems an unnecessary stretch but whatever gets the ball rolling.

Marg Helgenberger and Michael Madsen return to collect paychecks, I mean reprise their roles, as Dr. Laura Baker and Press Lennox respectively. Dr. Baker appears to have left sense behind and Press Lennox is only in the hunt for the money (insert Madsen joke here). Natasha Henstridge returns as Eve, a clone of Sil that Dr. Baker made so she could prevent future disaster (:P).

Ben Kingsley, Alfred Molina and Forest Whitaker do not return so to round out the cast we have George Dzundza as Colonel Carter Burgess Jr., Mykelti Williamson as astronaut Dennis Gamble and an always welcome James Cromwell as Senator Ross. Just as a model was chosen as an alien for Species, the other alien here is male model Justin Lazard. Unfortunately he doesn’t shine here in the way Henstridge did in the first film.

Marg Helgenberger must have had a return clause that said she would do the movie if she didn’t have to appear nude and I’m guessing that Natasha Henstridge agreed to but limited her nudity. To make up for that director Peter Medak has pretty much every other woman appear nude or semi-nude in the film. I was only surprised that the all-female staff of the research center didn’t have a shower scene.

Species was a matter of B-movie style over substance. Species II jettisons the fawning over Henstridge, much of the designs of H.R. Giger, and the little bit of coherence that Species had. If you thought the team hunting Sil was stupid, the team hunting Patrick is downright moronic.

Notes to director Medak: Quarantine – that word doesn’t mean what you think it means. Don’t make your justifications needlessly complicated. If you’re staging a manhunt, perhaps more than two people should be involved. At least I didn’t see the boom in this film.

A few hilarious lines of dialogue from Senator Ross to his son – “Not if I can help it. Now there’s no way that they can find you here. The property is still listed under your mother’s maiden name. And I sure as hell am not going to hand you over to those Pentagon b#$%^s. I am taking you into Johns Hopkins for treatment.” Wait let me see if I understand this – you are telling your son that this is the perfect place to hide but that you are taking him into Johns Hopkins. Seriously? Did no one actually read the script?

People Watch: Look for Peter Boyle in an all-too-brief role as Dr. Herman Cromwell. Comedian / Law&Order perennial Richard Belzer appears as the President.

Pink Cadillac – Clint Eastwood week

Well I guess it’s time to wrap up Clint Eastwood week. Pink Cadillac is currently available on instant Netflix.

Pink Cadillac

AVOID: Pink Cadillac (1989) – Rated PG-13

“Clint Eastwood and Bernadette Peters star in this charming film about a guy who makes a living hunting down people who’ve skipped bail. All is smooth sailing until he meets a woman who’s just left her husband — and has her baby and her husband’s pink Cadillac in tow. Unbeknownst to both of them, there’s a stash of cash in the vehicle, and soon, everyone is after them.”

“Your skin is so soft – like Velveeta.”

Stuntman Buddy Van Horn directed three movies. All of them starred Clint Eastwood. Unfortunately they are pretty much Clint’s worst three films (Any Which Way You Can, The Dead Pool, and this one).

Have I described Clint as likable enough this week? Well darn it he is. Unfortunately that doesn’t save this movie.

This is from his 80s period where Clint was apparently trying to get away from his gruff no-nonsense persona. None of these movies were particularly well-done (Every Which Way But Loose, Bronco Billy, Any Which Way You Can). City Heat even spoofs his image a bit.

I think the real problem is that Clint appears to be having fun in these movies. Just because Clint is having fun does not make it a good movie. That appears to be all there is to the movie so the conclusion has to be that someone thought that’s all it took to make a movie.

Actions have no grounding. Clint’s character leaves the keys in the car so that Bernadette Peters can drive off with it. Never mind the part where that doesn’t make any sense.

This film has it all. Racism, domestic violence, child endangerment, drug abuse and kidnapping all play a part in this feel good comedy.

In addition to the other faults this movie has, Netflix has broadcast it in fullscreen. Really just watch ANY other Clint Eastwood film.

People Watch: Look for James Cromwell as a motel desk clerk and Jim Carrey as a lounge entertainer.