|Directed by||Peter Medak|
|Produced by||Dennis Feldman
Frank Mancuso Jr.
|Written by||Chris Brancato
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Cinematography||Matthew F. Leonetti|
|Running time||98 minutes|
|Box office||$19,221,939 (domestic) |
Species II (a.k.a. Species 2: Offspring and Species 2: Origins) is a 1998 sequel to the 1995 film Species. It stars Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen and Marg Helgenberger, all of whom reprise their roles from the first film. It also features actor James Cromwell as "Senator Judson Ross". The next film of the Species series was the direct-to-video Species III.
Roughly two years after the events of Species, an American space mission lands on Mars, and collects soil samples. Back on board, the temperature on the ship thaws frozen DNA in the soil samples, which then attempts to infect the astronauts. The mission safely returns to earth, greeted by cheers. Only Dr. Cromwell, a scientist and now an inmate in an asylum, reacts to their return with violent fits.
After their return, the three astronauts are examined and quarantined to prevent them from engaging in sexual intercourse for ten days. However, one of the astronauts, Patrick Ross, immediately disregards the advice and sleeps with two women that night. Both women undergo an accelerated pregnancy in which their stomachs split open and half-alien children emerge, killing them in the process. Patrick hides the rapidly growing alien children in a remote shed.
Under military supervision, scientists led by Dr. Laura Baker have created a more docile clone of Sil, named Eve, in an effort to understand the alien life form and prepare for defense should it ever arrive on earth. An isolated Eve, undergoing tests in the lab, shows signs of great physiological excitement every time Patrick has sex with women.
At the space center, Patrick sneaks into the lab and brutally kills Dr. Orinsky, who had been trying to contact Dr. Cromwell about the astronauts' blood samples. Analysis of the corpse reveals the presence of alien DNA, similar to, yet distinct from, Eve's. Baker is reunited with Press Lennox to contain the threat. The two contact Cromwell, who explains that Mars was rendered uninhabitable by an alien species, and that he was institutionalized to silence his opposition to the Mars mission.
Press and Laura find astronaut Anne Sampas, who is also infected with alien DNA. Unfortunately, by the time they locate her, she has just had unprotected intercourse with her human husband and has become impregnated with alien offspring. Press and Laura manage to kill the creature, but not before it emerges and kills both Anne and her husband. Government agents analyze Dennis Gamble's blood, revealing that he was not infected; he joins Press and Laura in their mission.
After spending the night with his fiancée, Patrick wakes to find her mutilated body and another alien child. Horrified at what he has done, he shoots himself killing the last trace of the human psyche within him. His head immediately regenerates and he is reborn as a whole alien. Patrick impregnates as many women as he can (mostly prostitutes and strippers), killing them in the process, and burying them next to his shed where he accumulates a large, virulent brood of alien children.
At the lab, the scientists activate Eve's alien DNA to telepathically track Patrick. Patrick also locates Eve and, in order to get closer to her, gives himself up to Press and Dennis. As he enters the lab, Eve shows signs of being in heat. Patrick tries to enter her isolation cell but is chased off by Laura, Dennis, and Press.
Patrick then helps his alien children to cocoon, awaiting their rebirth as adults so they can mate with humans, hoping to eventually destroy the entire human population. Meanwhile, Laura finds out that Dennis has resisted infection due to his carrying genetic flaw, and plans to infect the alien species with Dennis' DNA, as the species lacks immunity to human genetic diseases.
As the team prepares, Eve breaks free from the lab to find Patrick. The team tails her, finds the shed and kills Patrick's brood. Eve and Patrick start to mate and transform into their alien forms, but are interrupted by Press. Patrick fights off Press and Dennis and also overpowers Eve (who attacked him at Laura's request). He then seemingly kills her by forcing his penis down her throat, choking her to death. Press stabs Patrick in the back with a pitchfork coated with Dennis' blood, causing Patrick to disintegrate.
The military finally arrives and escorts Press, Laura and the injured Dennis away. Eve's lifeless human body is loaded into the back of an ambulance. As the vehicle departs, Eve's womb begins to swell, indicating an imminent birth, as one of Patrick's children, who had not yet cocooned, looks on.
The nature of the alien species is explored to a slightly greater extent in the second film. A professor claims that they originated in the Large Magellanic Cloud (called the Magellanic Galaxy), due to it apparently being the only other place carbon-based life forms have been discovered. It is also stipulated that they were a "cancerous" race that visited Mars millions of years ago and annihilated all life on its surface, (which is described in the film as being Earth-like at that time) before leaving a remnant of DNA in its soil. This DNA was intended to be picked up by other visitors so their species could continue to infect other planets. Since Patrick's alien form was quadrupedal (as opposed to bipedal, like Eve's form), bigger, and more 'brutish' in appearance than hers, it is assumed that this must be the common appearance of the males of the alien species. Their appearance is similar to the xenomorphs of the Alien films; both were designed with input from H. R. Giger.
The film finished at number four on its debut weekend, and was a box office flop. It received notably worse reviews than its predecessor, currently holding a 10% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 30 reviews (3 positive, 27 negative). Dwayne E. Leslie from Box Office Magazine gave the film 1 out of 5 stars calling it "a sequel that doesn't measure up", also heavily criticizing the film's predictable and open ending. Joe Leydon from Variety magazine called the film "a half-baked rehash". He praised the special effects and technical aspects of the film but added "that's not nearly enough to camouflage the inherent crumminess." James Berardinelli described the film as awful but added "there's enough blood, gore, simulated sex, and bare flesh to prevent it from ever becoming boring".
In a 2004 interview, co-star Michael Madsen expressed his opinion on this film saying "Species II was a crock of shit. There are a number I'm not very proud of. The movie studios can't mind that much, as they haven't contacted me to tell me off about it. I'm honest - if I've made a bad movie, I want my fans to know what they're letting themselves in for."
In the DVD commentary director Peter Medak highly praised the films' special effects. He expressed his opinion that audiences had too much expectation as this was a very different sequel due to not continuing from the story with the alien-infected rat that survived the finale, which hinted at a sequel in the 1995 original. Medak also admitted being uncomfortable with the amount of nudity in the film but said it was for the purpose of the story.
As with the first film, Yvonne Navarro wrote a novelization based on the original screenplay which gives plot and character details not seen in the film. For example the book tells how due to little knowledge of the outside world, Eve actually doesn't know if Superman is a real life personality or not. It is also hinted that she was able to learn a degree of martial arts by watching old action movies.
In the film, Eve is shot by soldiers, but after being briefly incapacitated her body regenerates and she continues to escape. Soldiers continue to shoot at her, but Eve manages to run past them; why she is unharmed is left unexplained. The book explains that her skin adapts (in a way similar to how her body adapts to the gas test earlier in the film), becoming bulletproof.
Other details in the book that do not appear in the film include an earlier escape attempt by Eve and Patrick discovering new senses in a restaurant with his fiancé. In the novel, the debutante is a young sexy brown-eyed blonde whereas in the film, she is an older woman who is brunette.
- "Species II (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-10-30.
- "City of Angels' Takes Wing in Heavenly Opening Weekend". The Los Angeles Times. 13 April 1998. Retrieved 2010-12-29.
- Species II review Boxoffice.com
- Species II review Variety.com
- Species II review Reelviews.net
- Tim Inghman (18 June 2004). "Michael Madsen review". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 13 January 2010.