Director: Chris Walas
Cast: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, Frank Turner, John Getz, Harley Cross
Screenplay: Mick Garris, Jim Wheat, Ken Wheat, Frank Darabont
105 mins. Rated R.
As some of you are aware, David Cronenberg’s The Fly is one of my all-time favorite horror films. The sequel, The Fly II, has a steep ladder to climb, an impossible feat. But the question is whether or not The Fly II can be capable enough to stand on its own, and I think that, as a sequel, it actual is passable enough.
When Veronica Quaife dies giving birth to her child with Seth Brundle, the child, a victim of his father’s experiment, is taken in by Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson, Network, Prizzi’s Honor) and his company. The boy grows at an accelerated rated. and celebrating his fifth birthday, Martin Brundle (Eric Stoltz, Pulp Fiction, Class Rank) is a fully-grown man with extreme intelligence and a need to learn. Martin searches for a cure to his mutation. At the same time, Bartok is searching for the missing piece in Seth Brundle’s telepod experiment. When Martin discovers that Bartok is not interested in helping him, he must venture for his answers with only the help of fellow Bartok employee Beth Logan (Daphne Zuniga, Spaceballs, Those Left Behind).
The Fly II is nowhere near as strong a film as its predecessor. First-time director Chris Walas (The Vagrant), who worked on the creature effects for the original film, stepped behind the camera this time around. For a first film, The Fly II could have been so much worse. The faults here come with pacing, performance, and the ending.
The Fly II has some real pacing issues. It feels like a three-hour movie at times. I feel like the lack of a throughline direction from Walas is a big reason why this sequel suffers. It feels very unfocused at times, meandering about in search of meaning.
The performances from Stoltz and Zuniga are very underwhelming. Stoltz seems childlike, as he is still, but he is just uninteresting. Zuniga, though, is just dull. Richardson’s Bartok isn’t an interesting villain, but he is evil enough to suffice. I just missed the characters from the first. I feel like having more of a presence of Seth and Ronnie, or hell, even Stathis (John Getz, The Social Network, Trumbo), who appears in the sequel in a cameo.
The ending is pretty amazing, except that it half-sucks. There’s an ending for our main characters that is extremely underwhelming, Then, there’s a super-dark stinger before the credits that I loved. The entire third act goes insane, a larger-scale version of the original, and I liked where it was heading, but it just didn’t go far enough.
But there are some really cool moments of the film. The Fly II is at its best when it forges a new path rather than retreading its far superior parent. Walas kills it again with the incredible makeup effects. The attempts made at adding to the mythology are mostly successful, and I have to say, I did enjoy most of the film.
The Fly II is an inferior sequel, but it gets about as good as it was ever going to get after losing Cronenberg. It’s a fun 1980s camp horror sequel that does try to reach the stars even if it misses often enough.
-Kyle A. Goethe
For my review of David Cronenberg’s The Fly, click here.