Director – Chris Walas
Cast – Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Frank C. Turner, Anne Marie Lee, Gary Chalk, Saffron Henderson, Harley Cross, Matthew Moore
Release Year – 1989
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Three years after David Cronenberg’s most well-known film, The Fly, we were given a sequel that paled in comparison but still managed to be a fun watch. Fans of Cronenberg’s entry should be pleased overall with this film given its “core” is aligned just right with its predecessor and even does us all a big favor and ups the gore and live-action effects. More gore and live-action effects? Yup, this film is an under-appreciated treat to watch.
The Fly II stars Eric Stoltz as Martin Brundle, son of the now deceased lovers Seth Brundle(Goldbum’s character in The Fly) and Veronica Quaife(Geena Davis’s character in The Fly). Martin is being raised in the very laboratory he was birthed in, a birth that caused his mother a very painful death. Martin is exceptionally bright, and his genetically altered chromosomes are causing him to develop at an accelerated rate. As Martin begins to try and live his own life, he falls for a lovely low-level scientist named Beth(Daphne Zuniga). As he gets closer and closer to Beth, his condition begins to “worsen” as his genetic makeup begins to take effect, a change he is unable to stop without a cure. Unfortunately for Martin, this is only the beginning of his worries when he learns of the true intentions behind the laboratory he calls “home”.
It had really been a long while since I had last seen this film, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I have read and heard many negative remarks about this film, and I honestly must say that you need to be a fan of the first entry in order to MAYBE moderately enjoy this flick. Why? I will get to that. First, the positives.
This flick managed to keep my interest throughout thanks to a storyline that does develop a bit slowly, but is captivating nonetheless. For the first half of this film it really comes off as more of a science fiction piece than a horror flick. We get a lot of laboratory oriented scenes, intelligence tests, and many other sorts of science mumbo jumbo thrown in to engage the viewer. Personally, this type of science stuff interests me quite a bit, genetics and all, so naturally I was OK with this use of development. While it takes a while before the real “fly’ carnage kicks in, it is awesome and definitely defines this film as a nice testament to the greatness of live-action effects instead of lame CGI. The gore is laid on heavy and the animatronics are near-groundbreaking. Of course, this should be somewhat expected from director Chris Walas who made his career in special effects and makeup design(he did makeup in Cronenberg’s Scanners, ironic huh?). Surprisingly, this is Mr. Walas’s first directing job, and he did some fine work.
The reason I can see some not enjoying this one so much is due to its overly long development, which I did find a bit unnerving in all honesty. Over an hour passes before we get the slightest use of “fly” carnage, and event then it takes about 15 more minutes before we really get the carnage we expect to see. Had this film been tightened up a bit and given some nice fly action early on I could see this film coming off almost as excellent as its predecessor(given it keeps its awesome ending sequences).
Overall, this is a fun watch that does come off quite slow but is sure to please those who wait for its awesome third act. We get some great gore, awesome animatronics, and a cool storyline that unfortunately just takes a long while to get going.