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The Fly II
1989 - R - 105 Mins.
Director: Chris Walas
Producer: Steven-Charles Jaffe
Written By: Mick Garris, Frank Darabont
Starring: Eric Stoltz, Daphne Zuniga, Lee Richardson, John Getz, Ann Marie Lee
Review by: John Ulmer
   
As I write this review, I have never seen the remake of "The Fly" with Ian Malcolm - err, Jeff Goldblum - and Geena Davis. So I really have no basis to compare this sequel to. Therefore, I will continue with this review in light that I have not seen the original remake...

The film opens with a Geena Davis Lookalike giving birth to a son; she dies, the baby lives. Baby grows older, and because he is 1/4 fly, he grows at a rapid rate, for some reason. I'm not sure why this would make him bigger instead of smaller, but oh well. His name is Martin, and he turns into Eric Stoltz when he is five. Yes, you read that right. Five. Martin is looked over by the head of a company, where he is kept and given medication to keep him from turning into a fly...

But soon young Martin finds out that not everything is what it seems, and he begins to mutate into...THE LIZARD. Well, that's what he looks like, anyway.

As I watched this, I kept a careful eye on Eric Stoltz. Why? Well, as I'm sure everyone knows by now, he was originally cast for Marty McFly for "Back to the Future," and they filmed much of the movie with him before Bob Zemeckis dropped him for Fox. In fact, there is still a scene where he is diving into the Delorean that is intact. Freeze frame the film and you can see it's not Fox. I always thought that footage looked odd - like it wasn't Fox doing the stunt...

Anyway, I watched Stoltz and realized how bad he would have been as Marty McFly. He just isn't hyper enough - Michael J. Fox was perfect for Marty, Stoltz would have ruined it. He's not a bad actor, mind you. He's perfect for this role (well at least "good" for this role), but for Marty? Nah... On a side note, I'm not sure if this is a coincidence or bizarre in-joke, but Stoltz's character plays a kid named Martin...similar to Fox's character Marty McFly...Martin...Marty....
And, I thought of something else that I haven't seen someone point out before. Marty's last name in "BttF" is McFly. What does Martin turn into in this film? A FLY! Martin the Fly, Marty McFly...taking a quote from "Uncle Buck": "Is there a little similarity here? Ooh, I think there is!"

The film was directed by the creature effects artist of the original - and sequel: Chris Walas. You might recognize his name, because he wrote "Gremlins 2" and did the creature effects for "Gremlins," as well. Anyway, he directs the film pretty good for a creature effects artist...I guess...

What I like so much about this movie is its high campy quality. It is a hybrid of B horror movies from the fifties and sixties and the "new breed" of horror films in the eighties, that were like B horror movies with gore. Lots of gore. I guess it doesn't qualify as strictly campy, because the old horror movies were not so disgusting...so I just call these films the eighties B horror movies. Simple enough, eh?

I have always been a sucker for the campy horrors from the eighties, especially when they are sequels that tread into old territory. For example, in one scene we see footage of Jeff Goldblum being interviewed. Martin watches this with interest. And what I think is so interesting is that we can look back and say, "Oh, yes, that was before Goldblum knew he was turning into a fly." It's just interesting to do that. It seems like many films from the eighties would have archive footage from the original film. Anyway, "The Fly II" is a lot like these films. It gives us a glance back at the original. I'm not sure if I can explain in words what this does. It just provides a feeling for me - kind of like campy horrors make some people feel good. I like when horror movies--or any movies, for that matter--travel into the film before...we can look at the old characters and say, "Oh, yes, that was before this was going to happen..." It's just fun to do. I can't describe it in words.

This movie, like many horror sequels from the eighties, is just enjoyable. Odd, but enjoyable. It's hard not to have fun watching it. If you take it seriously you're going to have a pretty hard time watching, but if you turn off the brain for two hours you'll have some fun.

My only two complaints is that this movie is about a half hour too long, and the creature looks like a lizard and not a fly. Other than that, it is a fun ride. Not great, but a good, well done horror movie that never takes itself too seriously. Perfect for a Friday night.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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