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Title: Species II

Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :3.5stars:

HTS Overall Score:75




[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66658[/img]
Summary
Sci fi and horror blended are a staple of the genre. In fact, creature feature sci-fi/horror movies were a HUGE hit in the 90s, so much so that it was part of my every Friday night. Find the cheesiest and goriest science fiction adventure I could and giggle till I was blue in the face. “Species” was always one of my favorites during high school. I mean, what was NOT to like? The stunningly beautiful Natasha Henstridge as a human/alien hybrid that went around trying to get pregnant so that she could give birth to a new breed of alien super soldiers and pretty much take over humanity. While “Species” wasn’t high art, it was a modest hit for the studios and even though it set itself up for a sequel, nobody ever really expected one to come to pass. That is until 3 years later when the powers that be thought it was time to dig down to the bottom of the barrel and bring out ANOTHER in the soon to be franchise. Well, “Species” was good fun, but “Species II” is what one calls a “guilty pleasure’. A VERY guilty pleasure in fact. It gets cheesier, dumber and gorier than the first movie was and is such a jumble of plot ideas and dropped plot lines that it’s almost better lampooned than it is watched in a serious manner.

After dealing with the half human half alien that was Sil in the last outing (also played by Natasha Henstridge), the defense department realizes that in order to be prepared for the next invasion by aliens, they have to find out how they work. So someone gets the bright idea to clone Sil and create a more docile version of her with suppressed alien desires so that they can come up with a way to fight them. Eve (Natasha) is kept away from men to keep her mating drive down and is constantly experimented on in efforts to find something that will hurt her. Supervised by Dr. Laura Baker from the first movie (Marg Helgenberger), the defense department is no further along in their studies to make a viable weapon.

Simultaneously there is a trip to Mars coming back from an expedition, helmed by Patrick Ross (Justin Lazard), son of Senator Ross (hammed up by James Cromwell), along with hot shot Dennis Gamble (Mykelti Williamson) and astronaut Anne Sampas (Myriam Cyr), the crew accidentally brings back an alien ooze. An ooze that is actually the dna of the alien species that Sil and Eve were from. Infecting two of the crew, this alien ooze starts the same process over again from the first movie. This time instead of the gorgeous female going around seducing men, it’s Patrick Ross who becomes the lead hybrid, impregnating women in a 5 minute pregnancy that brings out little alien spawn. Spawn that if left unchecked will bring about the destruction of mankind. Using Eve as a bloodhound, the defense department brings back in Preston Lennox (Michael Madsen), the big bad boy from the first movie, to come back into the game and act as alien exterminator, along with Dr. Baker and Dennis Gamble (in between shots of him TRYING to get some booty).

[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66666[/img]
Ahhhh, “This is awful! Just Awful” spouts an over acting Marg Helgenberger at one point in the movie, and that’s exactly what you’re in for. An awful mess of a movie that is oh so deliciously fun. Playing out like the “Terminator” franchise, the big bad alien is back again, except this time she’s the good guy in the story. The new alien impregnator is trying is best to mate himself an army of aliens that will soon create more of their own, but Eve is doing her best to actually fight for humanity. They tried much harder this time to humanize Natasha’s character, emphasizing her very human half this time. She’s still go her instincts and her mating drive, but they bring her over to our side long enough for us to cheer when she takes out Patrick Ross’s marionette monster form later on in the film.

Basically B grade schlock, the cast of “Species II” seem to recognize that they’re in a B grade Sci-fi movie from the beginning, putting in just enough effort to be passable. Justin Lazard does a solid enough job as a conflicted Patrick. He’s part alien, but still part human and struggling with the horrific things he’s doing, even though he’s not completely conscious of the atrocities. Henstridge is the one who REALLY tries her best though, adding a layer of complexity and humanity to Eve that would have been lost had she just slept walked her way through the film like Madsen and Helgenberger do. James Cromwell is usually a very charismatic actor, but even he seems to just phone it in sadly enough.

As much as “Species II” is a badly done sci-fi film that just isn’t up to the first film, it’s also a whole barrel of fun. The movie can’t seem to figure out whether it’s a straight sci-fi/horror film, or just a comedy. There’s certain elements in the script that are played off as comedy, but the movie takes itself so seriously with the schlocky plot that you just can’t help but laugh hysterically as Marg overacts to the extreme and Madsen just mumbles bad one liners through the whole thing. Not to mention the old 90’s CGI makes it even funnier.



Rating:

Rated R for strong sexuality, sci-fi violence/gore and language



Video :4stars:
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66674[/img]
“Species II” comes to Blu-ray with a very nice looking 1.85:1 1080p encode. The film opens up with a slightly soft and hazy look, but once the CGI of Mars is gone the film clears up quite a bit. Contras is a bit hot at times, which washes out some of the blacks and colors, but other than that the image is really nice for a late 90’s cheapo movie. Colors pop with intensity, especially different shades of red and green. Facial detail strong throughout (although I noticed a slightly smoothed look over Natasha’s face at times, which seemed to come and go) and there is impressive detail in the longshots, such as when Eve makes her escape from the facility. Blacks are impressive and relatively inky throughout, although that boosted contrast sometimes washes some scenes out EVER so slightly.







Audio :4stars:
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66682[/img]
The disc comes with 2 flavors of audio for us to enjoy. 2.0 DTS-HD MA as well as a fully-fledged 5.1 DTS-HD MA track as well. The 5.1 is the better sounding of the two, with a stronger presence and of course a heavier bass level in the film. Dialog is strong and consistent throughout and imaging is very sharp. You can hear a scream on one side of the room followed but the crashing of a body hitting the other side at times. Surrounds get a workout with bullets flying and glass crashing all over the place, and LFE is loud and aggressive. It’s not a powerhouse level of bass, but it’s plenty punchy during the combat scenes. I didn't notice any hiss or other distortions to the audio that seem to plague lower level releases, giving us a very pleasing track that shouldn't be a problem for any fan. Well Done.








Extras :3.5stars:
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66690[/img]

• Audio Commentary With Director Peter Medak
• From Sil to Eve
• Creature Creations
• Alien Evolutions
• Special Effects Outtakes
• Additional Scenes
• Still Galleries
• Theatrical Trailer







Overall: :3.5stars:

While it may seem like I’m bashing the film, I’m really not. It’s lot of fun and horribly entertaining to watch, I just can’t rate it higher due to the VERY obvious flaws in the script and the B-grade nature of the film. “Species II” is VERY much a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. The Blu-ray actually looks and sounds REALLY nice this go around, even better than Lionsngate’s pressing of the first movie way back when Blu-ray first took off. The real icing on the cakes is the very substantial amount of extras that Scream Factory was able to acquire for the film, something which is usually lacking. A good cheesy movie for a night of laughing and wincing.


Additional Information:

Starring: Natasha Henstridge, Michael Madsen, Marg Helgenberger
Directed by: Peter Medak
Written by: Dennis Feldman, Chris Brancato
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Scream Factory
Rated: R
Runtime: 93 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 8th 2016




Buy Species II On Blu-ray at Amazon





Recommendation: Cheesy Fun





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