A few years after Seth Brundle, or BrundleFly, met his demise by Veronica's shotgun, she dies after giving birth to its son, Martin. Seth's employer, Bartok, adopts Martin, only to have the genes so he can use them to create a super army of genetic flys. A few years later, Martin is fully grown, even though he is five, and the fly genes start to wake up and make him just like dear, dead dad. With the help of his girlfriend, Beth, they go to wherever they can find help. But Bartok finds them, brings them back, but before Martin finishes his transformation into MartinFly.
Directed by: Chris Walas
. Starring: Eric Stoltz
, Daphne Zuniga
, Lee Richardson
, John Getz
, Frank C. Turner
, Ann Marie Lee
, Garry Chalk
, Saffron Henderson
, Harley Cross
, Matthew Moore
, Rob Roy
, Andrew Rhodes
, Pat Bermel
. Music by: Christopher Young
"The Fly" (1986) was Canadian-born director David Cronenberg's unquestionable masterpiece of sci-fi terror. It's my personal favorite film of his, and is also notable for being his only film to win an Oscar (for its grotesque make-up effects). The movie was such a big success for Cronenberg that a sequel just had to be made. While "The Fly" was a brilliant remake of the 1958 original (based on George Langelaan's story), the 1989 sequel "The Fly II" "flies" in the face of everything that was so great about Cronenberg's original masterpiece.
To be totally fair, I actually quite enjoyed this film's first half before everything goes downhill in the second. It has a nice build-up, some sweet moments between the two young lead characters, and it does actually seem like it's trying to continue the story instead of repeating the first film (like so many unsuccessful sequels tend to do).
It should have been good, since make-up artist Chris Walas (who won the Oscar for Jeff Goldblum's transformation in Cronenberg's first film) is making his directorial debut here with this film. The problem is the script, which seemed to want to be two different movies at once and is credited to no less than five authors (including future directors Frank Darabont and Mick Garris) and each of whom was often tasked with re-writing his predecessor's material. For the first half of "The Fly II" things seem to be going okay, not super-good by any standard (at least for a sequel) but okay nonetheless.
It's in the second half when the special effects and gore sequences kick in that it all falls apart rather quickly. Until then it's a nice ride (at least in my honest opinion). Martin Brundle is the half-manhalf-insect hybrid son of "The Fly's" late herovillain Seth Brundle (played in the earlier film by a superb Jeff Goldblum). In the opening sequence, his mother dies giving birth to him, leaving the insect-boy an orphan to Bartok Industries, the corporation that financed Seth Brundle's work, with much of his early life spent in isolation in a clinical environment and completely unaware of his imminent transformation.
His insect genes allow him to age much faster than humans so that by the time he's only five human years old, Martin looks like an adult in his mid-20s (where he is now played by Eric Stoltz). He's a genius just like his father and because he doesn't sleep, he spends much of his free time trying to continue his late father's work on matter teleportation. That's when he meets Beth (Daphne Zuniga), a friendly co-worker in one of the labs who does the graveyard shift. The two become fast friends and she even helps him on his research work, and it isn't long before the two become lovers (though it may seem a bit disturbing to some tastes that Beth has no idea she's in love with a five-year-old boy).
And that's when the special effects begin! As Martin's insect genes start to take over his human ones, he goes through the same gradual transmogrification process that his father suffered through that ultimately turned him into a monstrous manfly hybrid. This was something that his benefactor the Bartok Industries CEO (Lee Richardson) wanted all along: he wanted to use Martin's diseased insect genes to help create an army of insect super-soldiers, and all it took was time for his vision to come to fruition. By the time Martin's a six-foot-tall insect-monster, he's on the loose in the Bartok facility and the movie quickly becomes an "Alien"haunted house clone.
And that's pretty much why this sequel blows the big one.
It's unfortunate how quickly things go downhill in "The Fly II" because of what it could have been. Instead, it just becomes a gross-out horror flick that's a showcase for gross-out gore and special effects. We're used to seeing grotesque gore and special effects in Cronenberg's films, but he uses these to enhance his vision of the film and continue his fascination with the so-called "beauty of bodily destruction." Here in "The Fly II," it's barf-bag special effects for the sake of having barf-bag special effects (the most notorious of which is seeing a guy's face melted off by Brundlefly's patented "vomit drop").
More than likely, the decision to not follow in Cronenberg's footsteps to allow us to meditate and sympathize with our leading hero was done away with in favor of retreading late-'80s trends in slasher flicks. "The Fly" was not a slasher flick and was far from ever being one; it was a thoughtful, grotesquely beautiful sci-fihorror flick with a hint of tragic romance. "The Fly II" is just a gross-out horror movie with a good-but-not-great beginning, semi-decent lead performances by Eric Stoltz and Daphne Zuniga, and a few isolated moments of brilliance.
Too bad it let itself go just when things seemed to be getting interesting.
Review by dee.reid from the Internet Movie Database.