10th Jan2018

‘Beyond Skyline’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Jonny Weston, Iko Uwais, Callan Mulvey, Betty Gabriel, Antonio Fargas, Lindsey Morgan | Written and Directed by Liam O’Donnell

BEYOND_SKYLINE_POSTER

Los Angeles Detective Mark Corley (Frank Grillo) thought bailing out his eighteen-year-old son, Trent (Jonny Weston), was the worst part of his day. But on the ride home, the skies above fill with a strange blue light. Within moments, the entire city’s population is vacuumed up into a massive alien ship.

In the aftermath, father and son lead a band of survivors to the marina. But when Trent is abducted, Mark relentlessly storms after his son onto the nightmarish warship. As the aliens move across the planet, feeding off the remnants of humanity, the resilient Mark battles through the bizarre environment, uncovering their horrific secrets. Before long, he forges an alliance with an unlikely ally. Together they are able to crash the ship and rescue several abductees.

Landing in Southeast Asia, they encounter a highly skilled resistance force, led by the deadly Sua (Iko Uwais). In a race against time, these warriors from different sides of the world must unite to save their families and take back the planet.

Taking the same tack as the Cloverfield “sequel”, Beyond Skyline runs simultaneously with the plot of Skyline – a cinematic “cousin” of the original if you will. The film starts its story on the same day the original took place, only, like 10 Cloverfield Lane, this one follows a different cast of characters interacting in and around the blue-light of this alien invasion – and because we know what the aliens are capable of, and what they look like, less time is wasted on the mystery and suspense of the invasion a la the first film. Instead Beyond Skyline gets straight to the point… and to the action.

Mere minutes into the film and the invasion has taken place, our heroes are taken into an alien ship and the fight for their lives begins! Talk about fast-paced! And the pace of Beyond Skyline never lets up. Just as one scene calms down, the next kicks into high gear; and before you know it the film is half way through and we’re in Southeast Asia. There’s no time for the cast of characters, or in fact the audience, to come up for air.

But it’s not ALL about the action. Depsite all the on-screen mayhem, writer/director Liam O’Donnell does progress the franchise mythos forward with Beyond Skyline, adding a neat twist to the film that cleverly ties this sequel into the first more substantially than this movie would initially have you believe. A twist/plot device which provides an interesting new aspect to the concept of the alien invasion AND allows for a deus ex machina that, ultimately, allows humans to fight back against the swarms of alien invaders; and for some superb “kaiju”-like battles across the Southeast Asian landscape!

Beyond Skyline is very much the antithesis of the “less is more” school of filmmaking. If features more action, more aliens, more violence, more gore, more of everything! And the film is all the MORE better for it (pardon the bad grammar). So much “more” is this film that in its epilogue, set ten years after the events of this film, sets up the BIGGEST Skyline film yet. Roll on that sequel I say!

**** 4/5

Beyond Skyline is out now on digital, DVD and Blu-ray from Signature Entertainment.

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