Director: Peter Medak

Starring: Michael Madsen, Natasha Henstridge, Marg Helgenberger

Astronauts bring back an organism that turns them into sexually predatory aliens.

Eve (Natasha Henstridge) in the research laboratory.Four astronauts head back from an expedition to Mars, not realising that they are carrying an alien bacteria, hidden in their soil samples. Before they land the organism breaks out, and infects the crew, turning them into predators with a strong desire to procreate. Meanwhile, in a secret US laboratory, scientists led by Doctor Laura Baker (Helgenberger) have created a duplicate of the original alien/human hybrid creature, named Eve (Henstridge), who is being used by the military to test her vulnerabilities. If the infected astronauts and Eve come into contact, then the resultant offspring could take over the planet…

Species II is slice of pure SF hokum, certainly no worse than the original movie, but still pretty dumb. Veteran Hungarian director Medak (The Krays, Romeo is Bleeding) handles the action scenes with some success, but seems out of his depth when handling the special effects scenes, which are often astonishingly inept (many of them are accompanied by an explosion of film grain, revealing that many effects scenes were created using low-rent digital technology).

MGM/UA’s single-sided dual layer DVD version should satisfy fans of the film, if it has any. It presents the film in its original 1.85:1 ratio, with 16:9 enhancement, with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. The film features many sequences with strong red hues which might have presented problems in the transfer stage, but the disc copes admirably well. The disc contains about ten minutes of deleted scenes, or alternate edits, including a sequence where the lead astronaut picks up a transsexual pole dancer in a strip club. These are of VHS quality, and add nothing other than to offer some small insight into the editing process. More interesting is Medak’s commentary track, which is quite frank, and even explains how meddling from the studio adversely affected the film. A US theatrical trailer, which manages to condense the film down to one single cohesive plotline, is also included, as is a generic MGM/UA trailer. A nice eight-page colour booklet, and a beautifully-designed animated menu screen are welcome - but wholly incidental - bonuses.


Related links:

Species II: Evolution of the Species - article

Species II - Film review


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