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The Fly II (Arrow Recommends)

The Fly II (Arrow Recommends)
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"Arrow Recommends is a column that has my sorry ass advise older movies to your royal asses. I will be flexible in terms of genres i.e. I will cover whatever the bleep I want. For now, it will be the way to keep my voice on the site."

PLOT: Seth Brundles’s (Fly dude from first film) young son Martin lives at the Bartok Research facility center. The head of that dive Anton Bartok (Lee Richardson) wants one thing and one thing only for Martin (Eric Stolz) to grow up and follow in his father’s footsteps i.e. to become a man/fly hybrid. Well you know how the old saying goes; be careful what you wish for!

"You can finish your Father's work. You're just as brilliant as he was, perhaps even more so. " – Bartok

LOWDOWN:  I never understood the hate for THE FLY II (GET THE ALL REGION BLU-RAY HERE). Just because the original was more cerebral and at the time slyly acted as a metaphor for AIDS that doesn’t mean that the follow up had to play the same "deep" game. Reading reviews online and seeing quotes like “Worthless sequel to a very good film.” - “The less said about The Fly II, or Son of Brundlefly, the better.” or “Another unnecessary sequel with gross-out special effects.” had me scratching my nuts thinking: the f*ck are these people smoking? Not the good kind that’s for sure. Watching it again today, I got to esteem it on a higher echelon! Lets buzz around this one and see what happens.

Written by horror favs Mick Garris and Frank Darabont (with Jim Wheat and Ken Wheat) THE FLY II did the same thing CHILD’S PLAY 2 did for CHILD’S PLAY or HELLRAISER 2 did for HELLRAISER. It expanded upon the mythology of the first film, jacked up the violence and the action while exploring similar themes but differently. For me, the film played out as three types of flicks rolled up in one. First and foremost it was a “smart kid” adventure flick, with Young Martin (brilliantly played by Harley Cross) displaying signs of high intelligence, exploring the facility in which he is trapped in (and making some appalling discoveries) and doing what a kid does in relation to adults: being a pain in the ass.

I dug that segment, it set the stage, gave us the rules (Martin's lightning quick growth), introduced fairly despicable characters (Garry Chalk as Scorby had beat-down written all over him off the bat) and I knew that it was all the in the name of whacking them off brutally in the last act. It also acted as a good build up as to what was to come: Young Adult Martin at play. The second section of the film basically explored a “love thang” between Martin (now tackled by a solid Eric Stoltz) and hot-to-trot Beth (played by the talented and affable Daphne Zuniga) while threading similar grounds as the first film ie. Martin trying to crack the mystery being the "telepods". Eventually the main plot line and the threat laced subplot collided to make way for a chase scenario that had me by the couillons and then some.

Finally; the third type of movie this one became was easily my favorite: a full blown MONSTER ON THE PROWL jamboree with an amazing creature design and EXCELLENT practical effects when it came to our beastie and the gory toppings. Lets have a moment of silence for the tour de force special effects bonanza that director and FX maestro CHRIS WALAS (this was his directorial debut... impressive) and his team pulled off in this flick. BRAVO! The creature design/execution, the skin ripping/melting gooey goods, the out there concoctions (loved that cocoon) and the un-apolegetic red-wet splatter were always impressive in THE FLY II, but watching it again today, they WOWED me even further! Now THAT’S genius horror artistry at play. Well done!

Add to all that quality; a glorious score by Christopher Young (not on par with Howard Shore’s score in the OG though but it got the job done), a mucho entertaining cameo by John Getz (repeating his role from the first film) which had me in stitches, solid dialogue all around, some much welcome Jeff Goldblum appearances via footage from the first picture, some fairly inventive kills and even a handful of heart-string pulling moments (the dog... nough said) and you get a well-rounded monster bash that made for time well spent! Again... the f*ck is everybody’s problem?

Granted, I did have some issues with this bad boy. The way the "love story" kicked in felt forced and at least two “bad guys” deserved a way GRISLIER fate than what they got (the first kill was off-screen…come on!). Morever, many of the side characters were fairly surface characterization wise (lots of one dimensional villains). The film also had a tendency to try to scare us by stretching out stalk and kill scenes for too long. Problem was the person being staked was always an a-hole, hence I didn’t feel suspense in a “will he/she die or not” manner. I WANTED THEM TO DIE. Instead of tension, I felt restlessness in a “get on with it and kill them off already” kind of way. 

Overall though – THE FLY II has aged very well, it was better than I remembered! Think a shameless B-Movie movie but with A-List coin to spare, one that went for the jugular with gusto to deliver the goods! If you didn’t like THE FLY II back then, I recommend you give it another try!  Me? I've always enjoyed it, but now I respect it even more. Practical effects parties like this are beyond seldom today, it was a breath of dead air to attend one again. Where’s THE FLY 3? Been long enough. Bring it already!

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