"The Fly II"
by Kevin Carr
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|| MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ****1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Eric Stoltz as MARTIN BRUNDLE
Daphne Zuniga as BETH
Lee Richardson as BARTOK
John Getz as STATHIS
Frank Turner as SHEPARD
Ann Marie Lee as JAINWAY
Gary Chalk as SCORBY
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: Chris Walas
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Coinciding with the re-release of David Cronenberg’s “The Fly” in a double-disc set, FOX has also released its infamous sequel “The Fly II” with a similar double-disc fanfare.
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I remember seeing “The Fly II” while I was in high school with a bunch of friends. It was a Friday night, and we were looking forward to a weird film that could live up to the first movie. Considering that the 1980s was a time when horror sequels were films like “Jason Takes Manhattan” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street Part Whatever,” this was a tall order.
The big draw for us was that while David Cronenberg didn’t direct this movie, Chris Walas (the man responsible for the horrific effects in “The Fly”) did. And unlike the directorial nod of SFX wizard Tom Savini with “The Night of the Living Dead” several years later, “The Fly II” lived up to this hype.
But strip away all the goop, fake blood and fly vomit, and you still have a decent story. “The Fly II” isn’t as inspired of a story as “The Fly” was, but at least it followed a logical progression. And unlike the sequels of its day, it didn’t just rehash the first film. It took the characters in a different direction with different motivations.
“The Fly II” tells the story of Seth Brundle’s son Martin (Eric Stoltz), who is being held at a research laboratory. Only five years old, Martin has undergone super-accelerated growth and is now physically equal to a man in his 20s. The head of the corporation behind the lab, Mr. Bartok (Lee Richards) manipulates Martin into helping perfect the telepods Seth Brundle left in his lab.
However, as Martin gets deeper into the project, and as he falls in love with a late-night co-worker, he begins to learn of the nefarious plots of Mr. Bartok. And to make matters worse, his Brundlefly genes have emerged and started to throw him into a metamorphosis into another human-fly hybrid.
To be honest, I’m surprised this film ever received an R rating. It has some of the most graphic blood effects I’ve seen in a regular theatre, including a head popping like a zit under and elevator and a man whose face is dissolved away in corrosive fly vomit. In this sense, the movie delivered, and that makes it a classic.
The DVD comes with feature commentary from director Chris Walas and film historian Bob Burns. The first disc also includes an alternative ending and a deleted scene with another outrageous shot of fly vomit.
Disc two includes two hour-long documentaries. One is an all-new look at the production of “The Fly II,” and the other is a retrospective of all five “Fly” movies made over the years at 20th Century Fox. There are several storyboard-to-film comparisons with optional commentary by Chris Walas, a film production journal, and original 1989 “The Fly II” featurette, theatrical trailers and a still photo gallery.
One of the more interesting bonus features is a discussion with composer Christopher Young, who made a great replacement for Cronenberg’s original composer Howard Shore. Young, who lent his sound to the “Hellraiser” films early on, talks through the different themes and segments of the film’s score.
With a bevy of DVD re-releases coming out this October, “The Fly” and “The Fly II” double discs are a great pair.
Specifications: Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. DTS 5.1 Sound. Widescreen (1.85:1). French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English subtitles for the hearing impaired.