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  Fly II, The No Flies On Him
Year: 1989
Director: Chris Walas
Stars: 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, Duncan Fraser
Genre: Horror, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: Martin Brundle (Eric Stoltz) is a very unusual young man. Just five years ago he was born, though his mother died in childbirth and he never knew his father, spending the whole of his life up to that point in the surroundings of this out of the way laboratory complex. There's a reason for that, and it's not simply his accelerated growth, for that is a symptom, no, it's because his father undertook highly advanced experiments in teleportation which proved his undoing when he transported himself from special pod to special pod and got his DNA mixed up with that of a housefly. Will Martin suffer as a result?

If he doesn't, then it's not going to be much of a horror movie, and you can bet he'll make others suffer as well in this sequel to one of the best shockers of the eighties. That was directed by David Cronenberg, a master of his art, but this was directed by Chris Walas, a master of special effects makeup which had reached its apex when he worked extensively on horrible Christmas classic Gremlins and the film this sequelised. Here he displayed a workmanlike attitude to warmed over material, nothing egregious, but if the original had not made money you couldn't imagine anyone wanting to make this, which was to that film what the fifties movie's sequels were to that.

So we were in cash-in territory, therefore don't expect anything more than a monster runaround in lieu of the emotionally upsetting tone Cronenberg had achieved. Before Martin (not to be confused with the British Formula 1 racing driver, no matter how many interesting images that puts in your head) transforms into a fly monster which sadly does not fly, he had to go through the growing up process, finding that being a genius on a par with his father won't help with getting along with the people in his life. His surrogate dad is the head of research, Bartok (Lee Richardson), a creepy customer who purrs that he's doing what's best for his charge, but we can tell he's up to no good.

After all, we've seen horror movies before. A more benevolent presence in Martin's life is Beth Logan (Daphne Zuniga) who he meets on the nightshift thanks to him being unable to sleep and her having time on her hands, so he demonstrates the teleport pods and how they've never worked properly since they've been here. He knows that only too well as when he was younger he witnessed his favourite dog getting transported and turning into a laughably unconvincing mutant puppet (honestly, you'd expect many of the effects to be better than they are with Walas at the helm) which he later discovers Bartok has been keeping alive in a pit. If you really wanted to piss Martin off, then you were going about it the right way, Mr Bartok.

That's not all, as once he starts romancing Beth he finds out he has been watched in his snazzy new apartment on the base, including when they were getting intimate, as he'll never be anything more than a test subject to his supposed guardian. It is at this point the film changes from a metaphor for puberty triggering a need for independence from your parents (or surrogate parents in this case) to a metaphor for puberty turning your body into that of a great big monster. If that is a metaphor. Anyway, after some couple on the run business with Beth panicking over a deteriorating Martin, we get to the gore effects fest we've been expecting, with crushed heads and faces melting off among the highlights, all very well but in comparison with what Cronenberg achieved with the material it's thin, backward-looking stuff. There is a memorably ghastly ending where our hero's solution to his problems is taken to its logical conclusion, but The Fly II was one of any number of uninspiring horror sequels of this decade. Music by Christopher Young.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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