Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: The Fly II

Synopsis: The horror beings again, as a greedy businessman attempts to unlock the secrets to Seth Brundle's teleportation pods, by using the "genetic curse" of Brundle's son as the key, in the sequel to David Cronenberg's classic remake.

Review: If there is one thing I loathe almost more than remakes, it's a hollow and bland sequel film to a remake. "The Fly II" is, unfortunately, just such a beast.

We pick up where Cronenberg's creepy remake of this classic horror film left off, as we now follow the exploits of the son of Seth Brundle (played by Eric Stoltz). After his mother dies giving birth to him, he becomes the personal experiment of a greedy businessman (played by Lee Richardson), who is determined to use him to unlock the secrets of his father teleportation device. You know nothing good can come of that. Right off the bat, almost none of the characters from the original return to this outing, with the exception of John Getz, who reprises his role as the token jerk. Not a very good sign. Then, you have four screenwriters on the script, which doesn't give you much hope of a solid story. The old adage about "too many cooks spoil the broth" is in full effect here, as none of the characters ever really come to life (except, perhaps, a little bit from Richardson's).

Really, I felt like the cast was sleepwalking through their scenes most of the time. There's no passion or spark in any of the performances. To be fair, to follow up on the incredibly frenetic and passionate energy of Jeff Goldblum's character from the first film, would be a very unenviable task for most actors, but Eric Stoltz never even gets close to anything like it. None of the cast do. Maybe they were as bored with the dialog here, as I was, I don't know. But there's really no standout performances here. There's almost no performances of any kind. They are all just cyphers to the need of the plot (such as it is). Just plodding along until the "Brundle-Fly" can come out and play. This is only made worse by the fact that there's no really likable characters in the entire film. Even Stoltz and Zuniga's characters, who are supposed to be the "heroes," never evoked any kind of emotion from me, save apathy.

Director Chris Walas obviously wasn't interested in creating the eerie tension and drama that Cronenberg did in the first film, as he opts more for cornball performances and putting all his effort into the special effects. But even there the film is just lacking. You can tell he was trying hard to top the "gross out" appeal of the first film, but it never comes off that way. Much of the violence is pretty tame, especially compared to the first film. It comes off more like "Cronenberg-lite" and never really satisfies. Even the monster Martin becomes does more to invite laugher, rather than fear and revulsion.

This film is just a clear cut case of how one movie's success was used as just cause to create a pointless sequel. Everyone involved here could only have been looking to get a paycheck. It's b-grade horror at its most dull and boring. It's not even "so bad it's good" b-grade horror. There's no scares to be had here, nor any humor, save the possibility of the unintentional kind. If you seen the first film, you certainly don't need to see this one. And if you haven't seen it, go watch that instead of this. The only thing this poor production has in common with flies, is the fact that any kind of crap will usually attract them.

Rating: 1 Star (out of 4)

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