The original Species film is reviewed on this month's TV Movies page.
This time round the shape-shifting half-alien monstrosity isn't a beautiful woman but a male astronaut, first man on Mars, played by the unknown Justin Lazard.
Natasha Henstridge is still around, this time as a cloned and more human version of the original creature. This Sil Light, as Michael Madsen calls her [Helgenberger, now Kingsley's replacement, calls her Eve] is kept in permanent quarantine - no men allowed, even the guards are female. However, for some reason the restrictions only forbid her seeing men through her unbreakable plexiglass walls; her favourite TV show is Dukes of Hazard, and although this reviewer's attention was always on Daisy Duke I DO believe there were some men in that particular show.
Okay then, I admit knowing that James Best [Quentin Tarantino's acting tutor] played Sheriff Roscoe Pee Coltrane.
Anyway, back to the film.
Eve, as half-alien herself, has a psychic link with Lazard - every time he impregnates a human woman [with fatal results] she goes into heat.
Now that the psychic element has been taken care of, Forrest Whittaker can be cut from the cast [and a lot of money saved]. This time the token black guy is Lazard's astronaut buddy, the sole survivor from the Mars mission.
The Afro-Carribean astronaut is checked out by Helgenberger's med-techs, and found to be free of alien contamination.
Lazard, still human enough to be horrified by the carnage he's wreaking, puts a double-barrelled shotgun under his chin and quite literally blows his own head off. Then, in the most spectacular scene of the movie [in fact, it explains where the SPFX budget went] the decapitated shapeshifter grows a new head!!!
Back at HQ, General George Dzunda is losing his cool. He is completely unconvincing as a General - too fat, sluggish and prone to profanity.
This isn't the fucking X-Files! he complains.
Too right - the lacklustre performances in this effort make one wish that Madsen and Helgenberger's roles were played by Mulder and Scully.
The one good thing about this film [except Henstridge, of course - though this reviewer far preferred her in the original] actually comes from the afore-mentioned TV show. Peter Boyle, guest star in the award-winning Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose.
In an effort at originality, the climactic battle steps away from the original's SPFX-laden explosion-fest. The heroes use DNA instead of big guns - this is more in tune with Giger's concept that the creature could not be destroyed by fire - but has the effect of removing much of the excitement from the climax.
The most impressive thing about this video is one of the Trailers - Soldier [starring Kurt Russell and Jason Scott Lee].
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