Beyond Skyline (2017)
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Critic Reviews for Beyond Skyline
Strong on-a-budget FX help compensate for lousy writing in for-the-geeks programmer.
I remain "meh" on [Mr. Grillo], but I did admire this movie's near-lunatic genre-hopping.
[Frank] Grillo and his castmates play for serious, but there's still an undeniable wink in their performances, as if they know what they're saying defies logic. It's like if CSI: Miami got invaded by aliens - and Grillo is doing his best David Caruso.
Audience Reviews for Beyond Skyline
Expectations certainly aren't high after a mediocre predecessor and a straight to DVD release, but the trailer admittedly looked fun. The full film can't quite deliver on that promise. While the effects are decent enough and there is plenty of action, the characters remain pretty shallow and the entire premise is pretty damn silly. Especially the second half, when the creators decided to get some talent from "The Raid" movies mixed up into this, is pretty stupid. The end credits immediately start with outtakes, that's how serious you have to take all this.
I remember hating the original Skyline with a passion. That's why I was a little perplexed when I found about this movie's existence. Granted, I expected it to be considerably better than the original movie, it'd almost have to be when the first one scraped the bottom of the barrel, but why almost eight years (given that this sequel was released late last year) for a sequel to a movie that never really made a dent in our lives. It's one thing for James Cameron to wait almost 10 years to release Avatar 2, given that the original flick is the second most commercially successful movie of all time, domestically speaking that is. You gotta strike while the iron is hot, if Skyline was a success, you gotta make sure you squeeze all you can out of that name. Maybe the original's terrible reputation made them hold off on it, who knows? Regardless of the fact that I hated the original, I legitimately went into this with as open a mind as I could. There's a few reasons for that. Firstly, I like Frank Grillo. He's a good B-level action star. I don't mean that derisively, it's just that not everybody can be Chris Pratt or Robert Downey Jr. Grillo is just a very reliable actor as far as these movies are concerned. He's charismatic and believable as an action star. And, the biggest reason I went into this movie with higher expectations, is the fact that Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian were in this movie. For those of you unfamiliar with those two names, what the fucking is wrong with you? These two are the main actors in what, arguably, might be the best action series of all time: The Raid. These two are pretty amazing martial artists and The Raid highlights their skills in ways that makes you wonder how these two haven't become major action stars on this side of the world. I mean, western directors have certainly taken notice, given that, of course, they're in this movie. Both were in a Star Wars flick and, I'm assuming, they'll keep getting work simply based off how amazing both Raid movies were. But, that's neither here nor there, as far as the movie is concerned, what did I think about this? Given how bad the first movie was and how much this is an actual improvement over that, would it be fair to say that it's probably one of the best sequels ever. Perhaps it might not be a great movie like Evil Dead 2 or Aliens, the latter of which is the closest comparison point I can make, given their similarities. But what I mean when I say that this is an example of a great sequel, I mean that the first movie was shit and this one, honestly, was fairly solid all things considered. The Godfather Part II is considered one the best sequels of all time, but that doesn't mean the original Godfather was shit. I suppose I'm laying it on pretty thick with that, so let's move on. Honestly, I don't know if I'm gonna give this 2.5 or 3 stars, but I'll be straightforward and say that if I do give it 2.5, I had quite a bit of fun watching this regardless. While I remember the original being a bit of a bland alien invasion movie, this one has more personality and a more personal story. So, essentially, the alien (since, really, there's only one big bad here) is harvesting humans in order to remove their brains in order to power the rest of their 'army'. It turns out that, at least, some of the humans are a little more resistant to the blue light that the alien uses in order to bring the humans to the spaceship. When this person, who's resistant to the blue light, has his brain taken away from him and put into the alien husk, he resists its commands and rebels against his 'leader'. You can tell by the red eyes. He assists Mark in his quest to find his son and his daughter is born, sort of, as a hybrid between the alien and human, since the pregnancy was accelerated. The girl, after she's born, ages very rapidly. Anyway, the point of the movie is using this little girl in order to, maybe, free the rest of the 'people' from this alien's mind control. It sounds a little goofy and, really, it kind of is. But, really, I don't think the movie has any delusions of grandeur. It's a B-movie and it provides according thrills. The characters are nothing to write home about, but they're likable enough, much more so than those in the original, that they make the movie definitely easier to watch and to get into. There is some stupidity, like when Garcia stays behind to slow down the giant alien/machine that's after them, to buy the rest of the group some time, only for him to die, literally, seconds after. I mean, maybe the idea was to use this as a parody of heroics that you see in films, where someone stays behind and fights until the bitter end, but, goddamnit, he or she died a hero. Garcia didn't die a hero, he died a moron. Naturally, given that the movie is also about Mark's relationship with his son, Trent, you know that some shit is gonna go down. Some shit does go down and Trent has his brain removed and put into one of these husks. How Mark is able to find out who his son is is beyond me, but let's go with that. The story isn't great, but at least they make some sort of effort to provide you with a glimmer of hope that you can stop this invasion. Hope is as important a theme here as surviving, which is what these films generally tend to be like. Having said that, maybe the whole 'we can free the aliens from the big bad's mind control through this little girl' is a bit of a deus ex machina, given how they explain things and, really, they don't do a great job at it, but it didn't really bother me that much. I didn't really go into this expecting to put my brain to use that much. If there's one flaw that I have to point out, and I really do have to point this out, is that Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian were criminally underused in this movie. Their scenes are, basically, left for the climactic act and it's just really disappointing given how fucking good these two actually are at what they do. Of course, though, their fight scenes during the climactic act were the best of the bunch and it was actually kind of cool seeing Mark, Sua and the policeman (Yayan, whose character is never given a name) teaming up and kicking alien ass. The special effects for this movie, and this movie's budget was twice of the original ($20 million), are actually really solid all things considered. No one is gonna confuse this for Infinity War or Star Wars, but they get the job done. Also, I think this movie does a better job at making this invasion and subsequent harvesting of humans more 'terrifying' than the original because of the R-rating. That gives you more creative leeway in showcasing some of the more gruesome experiments this alien is performing. The original had to play by PG-13 rules, so it felt dumbed down and sanitized. Not saying that this is the best alien invasion movie ever made, but it does a good enough job at making it feel 'gruesome'. I don't know what else to say about this movie, really. I had fun. It was a fun, B-tier sci-fi/action flick. So, yea, looks like 3 stars it is. Sue me, I enjoyed this movie. It's not perfect and I understand how some of you might be hesitant to give this a shot given how terrible the original movie was, but this is considerably better in every way. There's nothing the original does that's better than this. Can't really complain all that much, I thought this was a fun movie.
Thanks to a much better cast and the fact that things actually happen over the course of most of the runtime, Beyond Skyline is a far sight better than the original Skyline. But I cannot go so far as to say that it is, in and of itself, "good".
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