Oct 26, 2014

Review: The Fly II (1989)

David Cronenberg's The Fly is an insane movie, just pure insanity. It's horrifying, it's disgusting and it's a real heart wrencher truth be told. So it's no wonder that a sequel had to be made right? A shame that the only returning actor is John Getz. It is however directed by Chris Walas who was responsible for the creature effects in The Fly.

Walas has no previous experience in directing. But all the same, it wasn't a terrible idea to hand the reigns to the guy who did such a good job for the effects right? I wouldn't automatically think so anyway, but there are some risks for sure. Can Walas manage to do as good a job on the special effects as he did for The Fly and direct a decent movie at the same time? There's a lot of juggling there for sure but I was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt anyway.


Genre: horror, sci-fi
Directed by: Chris Walas
Produced by: Steven-Charles Jaffe, Stuart Cornfeld, Gillian Richardson
Written by: Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, etc
Music by: Christopher Young
Running time: 105 minutes
Production company: Brooksfilms
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Finnkino, 20th Century Fox, etc.
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: $38,903,179 (Worldwide)

IMDb entry
Rotten Tomatoes entry

Starring: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Frank C. Turner, Ann Marie Lee, Garry Chalk, Saffron Henderson, Harley Cross, Matthew Moore, Rob Roy, Andrew Rhodes, Pat Bermel, William S. Taylor, Jerry Wasserman



Following the events of The Fly, Veronica Quaife (Saffron Henderson) gives birth to a baby wrapped inside a squirming sac. Overseen by Bartok Industries which funded Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), Veronica dies minutes after. Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson) keeps the boy under surveillance as he displays many unique traits like accelerated growth, super intelligence and never needing to sleep. Five years into his life, Martin Brundle is a young man and is tasked to help Bartok Industries get his father's teleportation machines functioning. 


With a very intense opening, The Fly II seems to suffer through some pacing issues as it goes through an accelerated look at Martin's life. Cuts seem to occur at weird times but the problem mostly goes away once we get to the point where it's Eric Stoltz playing the role. Young Martin Brundle is pretty snotty anyway so it's a relief to be past that stage. It does kind of make you wonder why he grew up to be this shy but happy-go-lucky young man later on though.

Eric Stoltz is no more than alright as Martin Brundle, but the wheels do come off in a big way later on. (Spoilers) That happens once we get to the point where he's found out the truth about why he was kept at Bartok Industries, Martin is super angry and wants out. It just looks like he has a massive tantrum which is more comical than scary. Stoltz can't pull off the unhinged act and that's what was required at this point. He's also unable to be scary in any way once he gets pretty deep into his transformation. (End Spoilers) Also, it's pretty sad to watch John Getz ham it up in his small appearance. 

In terms of the makeup and effects, The Fly II is either hit or really big miss. There are some good effects like the squirming larva that Veronica gives birth to (Spoilers) as well as a guard getting their face burned by fly enzyme that leaves them still alive but without a face. (End Spoilers) That's mostly where the good ends though. Walas comes up with some pretty gross creations that just do not stack up well against the work he did three years ago in The Fly

(Spoilers) There's also of course the makeup for Martin's transformation which is absolutely crucial. Martin's transformation is different from his father's due to the fact that he was born with his messed up genes. The gelatin additions to Eric Stoltz face as he transforms look like what could be a pretty good Halloween costume, but not good as someone who's in the middle of turning into a bug. Martin's final form is also extremely disappointing to say the least. "Martinfly" has a look that disappointingly is more goblin than insect. (End Spoilers

The Fly II is more of a traditional monster movie than The Fly is but not really in a good way. It's like the entire story sets up what is pretty much just a dumb slasher movie. (Spoilers) Martinfly is in no way scary like Brundlefly was and I absolutely hate how there is no loss of humanity. Seth Brundle is terrified about losing his humanity and becoming more instinctual. That doesn't happen for Martin who maintains his consciousness completely even when he's reached full on goblin-fly. (End Spoilers) Oh and the ending is an unbelivable eye rolling affair.

I respect Chris Walas' decision to try to step away from what David Cronenberg did. There's no point in trying to emulate The Fly because it wasn't going to work. But by taking the director's chair, the effects and makeup have gotten worse, especially where it really matters. Eric Stoltz doesn't make his character very compelling and he has his fair share of awkward moments when it comes to romantic scenes with Daphne Zuniga. If we ignore the fact that it's a sequel to a really great movie, The Fly II is still really bad on its own.



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