Review: Beyond Skyline

Beyond Skyline
7 10

PLOT: During an alien invasion, a grizzled ex-cop teams up with a frazzled train conductor to find his kidnapped son, trapped aboard a UFO.

REVIEW: I had written a list of the bizarre, inexplicable things that happen in BEYOND SKYLINE with the intention of sharing some of them with you here, just to give you an idea of the film's complete devotion to being as bonkers as possible. But sitting down just now to write this review I thought, no, why spoil the fun? Almost as much as STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, this is a movie people should walk into knowing as little as possible, because the constant barrage of odd surprises personally made me very happy.

Okay, I'll share one item from the list: "Alien does a roundhouse kick."

I'm certainly not implying BEYOND SKYLINE is high art (or actually comparable to THE LAST JEDI), nor is it even necessarily good in the way we traditionally mean it, but if a movie's number one job is to keep you entertained, then BEYOND SKYLINE absolutely succeeds. I often couldn't believe my eyes, and that is meant as a compliment; it's a WTF experience in the extreme, concerned with insane spectacle first and everything else fifth or sixth. The urge to describe some of my favorite moments is rising again, but no, all I can do is implore those of you who like their sci-fi extravaganzas fearlessly ludicrous to seek it out ASAP.

Beyond Skyline movie review Frank Grillo Iko Uwais

The film is a sequel of sorts to SKYLINE, the 2010 do-it-yourself thriller that was made on a relatively small budget by a team of talented visual effects artists and ultimately released by Universal Pictures. While that movie was mostly a straightforward alien invasion yarn, BEYOND SKYLINE is an action-adventure that is leaps and bounds more ambitious and unconventional. SKYLINE co-writer Liam O'Donnell writes and directs BEYOND SKYLINE and somehow manages to make it tongue-in-cheek and straight-faced all at once; the film is wall-to-wall with screwy plot points, but it never crosses the line into camp territory. It's that earnestness that keeps your jaw dropped in wonderment.

Said earnestness is helped along by the gruff charisma of Frank Grillo, playing an alcoholic ex-cop who, along with a ragtag group of Los Angelenos, must navigate a chaotic landscape when gigantic extraterrestrial ships hover over the city and begin sucking the city's population up into the sky. For the stragglers, the aliens deploy a variety of hulking alien-android hybrids who either capture people and rip their brains out of their heads or snatch them up with their giant claws. Grillo needs to find his kidnapped son, and his search will take him from L.A. to aboard the alien craft to... Indonesia, where he confronts, and ultimately joins, a group of drug runners who just may be able to figure out how to put an end to this invasion for good.

I may have already said too much, but believe me, there is plenty that I've left out. What matters is, BEYOND SKYLINE goes for broke in every facet, from the visual effects and production design (both rather good, by the way), to the several absurd touches littered throughout the screenplay. The actors all manage to keep straight faces, against all odds, and O'Donnell is adept at directing eccentric action set-pieces; this is especially evident during the wacky, spirited finale. In terms of pure entertainment, BEYOND SKYLINE does not let you down, even if it's never exactly brainy. The characters frequently say and do things that strain credibility, to put it lightly, but when you have sequences of hand-to-hand combat between alien-robots and Iko Uwais from THE RAID films, your demand for realism begins to slip away. If you're looking for a less conventional alternative to the big one this weekend, this feisty concoction will put a smile on your face.

Source: JoBlo.com



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