Having previously reviewed Cronenberg’s classic remake of The Fly, it’s time to move onto, thanks to the Sci-Fi Chronicles book, the sequel to that classic, that sadly pales in comparison, and ends up being more a popcorn film than a worthy follow-up to the body horror film, that chilled so many.
Eric Stoltz is Martin Brundle, the mostly human son of the fly, whose birth was hinted at by the dream sequence at the end of the first film, and shown in this one with Saffron Henderson standing in for Geena Davis. A scientist in his own right, he is looking for a cure to his mutant genes, but his work is being watched and studied by the corporation and man, Bartok (Lee Richardson), that wants to continue his father’s work. He’s on the clock though, because he seems to have an accelerated life cycle, with unusual growth, and intelligence.
Bartok, who lies to and manipulates everyone, has taken Martin in and raised him as his own to keep an eye on him. Martin spends his days trying to figure out how to cure himself, working on his father’s teleportation pods, and also in the company of the lovely Beth (Daphne Zuniga).
As his life unfurls, and his disease progresses, he escapes from Bartok. He struggles to understand what is happening to him, and how he can extract the mutant genes from his cells.
It doesn’t have quite the same element of body horror that the first one does, but that may be because it doesn’t have Cronenberg’s creative vision behind it, although Frank Darabont had a bit of a hand in the screenplay.
It also lacks the dark sense of foreboding and dread that seemed to permeate the first film. It feels a little too glossy. It does have some fairly decent effects, and some nicely designed bloody moments, though not all of them are well-designed or have the pulsing wet reality they should, but it’s not enough to elevate into the esteemed arena reserved for the Cronenberg version.
Martin’s transformation when it really gets underway, actually does look really good, but again, doesn’t have the viscosity and troubling realistic feel of the transformations in the original film. I do like, how like his father, he begins to embrace his change, and revel in it.
The final Brundle-creature is… interesting to say the least. Then the climax as Martin, fully transformed, trashes the facility and anyone who gets in his way, just feels small, silly, and, honestly, a bit of a let down. Oh, and lets not forget the demand from Fox for a happy ending.
Overall, while more enjoyable than the earlier versions of the Fly story from the 50s and 60s, this one just doesn’t have the look, feel, or style to be considered a worthy sequel to the 1986 update.