Beyond Skyline is at its best in its first half hour or so, as we see the alien invasion from the first film from the perspective of a new set of characters. I suspect much of the effects work may have been recycled from the first film as well.
Not that it is as well done as the original, as only a small part of the film’s running time was devoted to something that took an entire movie the first time around.
Only this time we get a lot more action inside the alien ship, as the story briefly connects with the first film — and then switches gears abruptly, ending up in Thailand, along with a Golden Triangle drug gang.
And this seems a jarring break, one that effectively lets all the air out of the movies tires. We do, finally, get to an Independence Day-style all out battle with the alien hordes, and far too much over-explanation for something that happened in the last film and which is now supposed to be something you can load in an alien cannon as a secret weapon.
The original Skyline was essentially an in-house project from the Special Effects company Hy*drau*lx. Colin and Greg Strause (or, as they usually bill themselves, The Brothers Strause) founded the company and worked on a number of films before getting the chance to direct AVP: Requiem. While that film was a disaster, they blamed studio meddling, and financed their own SF film. I rather like the first film and found it far better than most of the reviews suggested: although it wasn’t a great film and they didn’t do much to establish their characters, it was scary, suspenseful and visually inventive.
For the sequel, however, they turned the writing and directing chores over to another Hy*drau*lx member, Liam O’Donnell, who co-wrote the original script. The result is a rather uneven film, which doesn’t have the visual flair of the original and leads to a somewhat contrived sort of happy ending. While the surviving characters of the first film do make an appearance, they are killed off rather abruptly.
And yes, that does feel like a cheat.
Perhaps this one can best be summed up by saying, it’s a sequel. And one which dropped to VOD with very little fanfare. One has to wonder what it would be like if it they didn’t have the impressive alien cyborgs and alien hardware to borrow from the first film.
But, then, there probably wouldn’t have been another film.
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