Starring: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Jonny Weston
Director: Liam O’Donnell
Run Time: 105 minutes
Why anyone should think it necessary to make a sequel to 2010’s shambolic apocalyptic CGI-fest Skyline is a matter of contention. At a push, you could partially excuse the first as a feature length vehicle for renowned VFX specialists Colin and Greg Strause to flex their effects muscle, but a follow-up, with directorial duties passed on to Skyline producer Liam O’Donnell, is much less easy to justify.
To recap, Skyline left us as aliens had attacked Los Angeles, sucking up the populous, tearing out brains to insert into cybernetic warriors for purposes unknown. One such brain rejected its new host and became the protector of its previous human host’s pregnant wife. Pretty much everyone else ended up with hollow heads. If you’re still with me after that, you must be having a slow day. Beyond Skyline picks up around an hour before the alien’s attack in a different part of LA. Frank Grillo’s Mark is LAPD, currently not working due possibly, or possibly not, to the recent and vaguely expressed death of his wife, and supping whiskey straight from the bottle in his pick-up. If Mark isn’t boiler-plate enough for you then how about Jonny Weston’s Trent, son of Mark; bright, brave but off the rails somewhat following the death of his mother? Or Audrey, subway driver and MMA expert? Or Sarge, a blind, homeless ex-military man who can still tell the payload of a nuclear warhead from two miles out? The characters are like a Guess Who of a B movie population.
When Audrey’s subway train is hit by something (which is never fully explained) our intrepid group attempt to find answers and escape the incoming brain-sucking alien onslaught. Without wishing to introduce too many spoilers, they are slurped up into the mother ship, rescue the baby, escape and find themselves with a bunch of underground drug-manufacturing militia on the outskirts of the city. At this point, O’Donnell creates a strangely misguided Rambo/Transformers mash-up which takes the worst parts of both.
Sometimes, when a film freely admits being rubbish and wears it squarely on its chest as a badge of honour, you do need to make some concessions. Beyond Skyline knows its place; Godfather 2 it is not. The rubber acting, dialogue which is consistently guessable from the opening credits and predicable narratives moving aimlessly from one big CGI action scene to the next is tedious and eventually wearisome. However, in it’s defence, the VFX here is impressive and holds its own against films with ten times the budget. It’s just a shame it’s not used in a more coherent way.
Beyond Skyline can be applauded for its visual effects but little else. Oh, and it has a bloopers reel. Yes, it’s 2017 and it has a bloopers reel. Worryingly, the bloopers reel is more fun than the actual film.
2 / 10