Reviewed by: Brett Willis
|Featuring:||Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Frank Turner|
|Producer:||Stuart Cornfield, Steven Charles Jaffe|
|Distributor:||20th Century Fox|
This is the sequel to the 1986 version of “The Fly”. It’s also in a sense a remake of “Return of the Fly” (1959), in that the son of the original Fly seeks to recreate his father’s experiments. The difference is that in this version, the son is already afflicted with inherited fly genes and his father’s telepods may be his only hope for a cure.
The film opens with Veronica (briefly played by an actress who can pass for Geena Davis in a pinch) dying after giving birth to a normal-looking baby boy encased in a fly egg-sac. The evil Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson), CEO of Bartok Industries which was one of the deceased Seth Brundle’s major backers/suppliers, takes possession not only of the remaining telepods and other equipment, but of the baby, Martin Brundle, as well. Some of Martin’s fly genes cause him to grow to adulthood in only five years (Eric Stolz plays the adult Martin). Kept as a lifetime prisoner by Bartok, who pretends to have a father-love for him, the brilliant Martin is allowed to continue his real father’s research while unknowingly being a research subject himself. Since this is formula Sci-fi, we know that eventually the other fly genes will kick in and good-guy Martin will be transformed into something powerful and ruthless enough to take vengeance on Bartok and his crew.
As in the preceding film, there is some profanity and some illicit sex, but no frontal nudity. The sequel has nothing new to offer except the vengeance theme plus a gore-fest at the end that tops that of the first film. Martin’s liaison with coworker Beth Logan (Daphne Zuniga) while he still has fly genes leaves open the possibility of her getting pregnant and giving birth to the central character of another sequel.
I admit that I found this film more interesting than it deserves to be because of the outstanding work of Stolz and Richardson, who are overqualified for their parts. Stolz may have been cast as Martin because of the role’s superficial similarity to Stolz’ character in “Mask”—a nice, bright kid with a deforming genetic disease; but there’s really no comparison between a true story and a Sci-fi exploitation flick. Richardson made a career of playing strong, authoritarian men. He was at his most noble as the Hasidic Jewish Rebbe in “A Stranger Among Us;” in the role of Bartok, he’s at the other end of the scale. Bartok, his scientists and some of his security staff are so nasty that even viewers who normally watch Sci-fi at arm’s length will be wishing for them all to get what’s coming to them. If you’re watching this and begin to feel that way, remember: “To him who has shown no mercy the judgment will be merciless; but mercy exults victoriously over judgment.” (James 2:13, Amplified) “Beloved, never avenge yourselves; for it is written, Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19) “In the course of justice, none of us should see salvation.” (Portia’s “Mercy Speech” in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”)