The Fly II (1989) — A surprisingly squishy follow-up

“You can finish your Father’s work. You’re just as brilliant as he was, perhaps even more so.”

Justin’s rating: Vomit Drop cereal — reach in for the special gooey prize!

Justin’s review: Like Catholic priests, police officers, and sentient computer systems, scientists in movies really do get a bad rap. I mean, in the real world they’re a bunch of (sorry Lissa!) very nerdy lads and lasses pouring over complex equations and formulas and metric tons of reports. Once in a while they even do some good, like inventing penicillin or Silly Putty. In movies, however, they’re constantly challenging God by creating fiendish abominations for power, glory, and money – and they’re downright homicidal to anyone who crosses their paths.

They also seem to have a very large budget for security personnel armed with assault rifles, which has to cut into the birthday cake funds.

So scientists are the real villains of The Fly II, the fairly successful sequel to Cronenberg’s disturbing tale of man-fly love. I came away from the movie feeling as though I was being urged to wage a one-man war on science as a whole. Evil science! Always telling us the world ain’t flat! Anyway, scientists in the Bartok corporation have appropriated the late Seth Brundle’s telepods along with the horrible union of Brundle and Geena Davis. It’s a flything with huge dimples, if you must know.

The baby grows up in five years to be a fairly mature, if geeky, Eric Stoltz. Stoltz plays Martin, who grows up in the scientific compound under the loving care of needles and two-way mirrors. Although almost everyone is either mean or condescending to him, Martin puts up with it and resumes his dad’s work on the telepods. He does make a little time to mack on the lips of Princess Vespa (Daphne Zuniga), but wouldn’t you know? Relationships are often cut short when one party starts mutating into a hideous fly and begins to lay maggots on rotting meat.

While the first half of The Fly II is somewhat dull and predictable – Stoltz never steals my heart with that feathered coif of his – this film gets to the good stuff a lot faster than its predecessor. Once Martin transforms into his true nature, we’re in for a rollicking good time. It’s sort of like Alien, except that here we hate everyone who’s under attack from the monster and wave around little “Go monster go!” pennants from our sofas. It’s also appropriately gross and “ewwwwwwwwwwwww,” the special effects and fly animatronics giving us a gore-fest (hint: flies aren’t all about hugs and cuddles as you might suspect).

Thank goodness movies like The Fly are here to teach us just how dangerous and exciting teleportation accidents can be – I hear this is required viewing for all cadets at Starfleet Academy before they’re “beamed up” for the first time.

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