Beyond Skyline Review
Beyond Skyline is a 2017 action/horror film about a tough-as-nails detective who embarks on a relentless pursuit to free his son from a nightmarish alien warship.
There’s no faulting creativity in Liam O’Donnell‘s latest mix of sci-fi and horror, Beyond Skyline, a film that takes a few steps back and then launches itself over whatever line there might be in defining over-the-top. That’s not to say it isn’t entertaining, as there is surely plenty here that delivers, dipping with big handfuls into a deep well, putting together a rare mix of bad and good, making this a film that’s certainly eager to please if not ultimately satisfying.
Acting as a sort of sequel to 2010’s low budget Skyline, Beyond Skyline embraces its title, bringing back the aliens from the first, beings that suck people up into the sky with beams of bright blue light. This time, we follow a grizzled Los Angeles Police Detective named Mark (Frank Grillo) who has just got his troubled son Trent (Jonny Weston) out of jail for the second time. On the subway home, the aliens arrive and start yanking people upward, hypnotizing them with their ray-beams. As the city goes dark, Frank, Trent, and the train conductor Audrey (Bojana Novakovic) survive and head out into the night, meeting up with Mark’s partner Garcia (Jacob Vargas) and fellow cop Sandra Jones (Betty Gabriel), along with a blind man named Sarge (Antonio Fargas). The crew are now all on the menu though as they get stalked by the visitors, with some ending up aboard a ship where things then get really weird and secrets reveal hope to save Mankind.
If there’s anything going for Beyond Skyline, it’s its commitment to the craziness, going in full tilt with some pretty impressive visual effects and a number of big action set-pieces. O’Donnell and his cast take this extremely seriously, sidestepping what would surely make for some very campy fun, instead treating this like a full on big budget epic. It pays off in most respects as it dedicates itself to delivering a fullbore cinematic experience meant only to entertain rather than challenge, being a fairly thin story with a clever twist in the third act. It’s got some gruesome imagery, as spines and brains are pulled from abductees, but for the most part, this is more action-oriented, centered on the efforts of Frank to navigate the madness.
This involves a fast-growing baby laced with alien blood, Golden Triangle drug runners in Southeast Asia (Iko Uwais, Pamelyn Chee), and an alien turncoat, embedded with the brain of very resistant human. Frank gets himself an upgrade of sorts and soon there’s a super team on the ground looking to take the fight to the invaders. It’s tempting to think that I’ve gone and spoiled too much but rest assured there is plenty here I left out with O’Donnell tossing in everything and the kitchen sink. It succeeds better with its action than its dialogue, which is decidedly flat, but some bravado performances, especially from Grillo and Uwais help save what essentially amounts to B-movie spectacle. Kudos to O’Donnell for meshing some mostly terrific CGI and live action visuals that convince all the way through. A wildly ambitious thriller that does exactly as intends, give it a go if you’re looking for some sci-fi mayhem and a few hours of chaotic fun.
Beyond Skyline Review
Movie description: Beyond Skyline is a 2017 action/horror film about a tough-as-nails detective who embarks on a relentless pursuit to free his son from a nightmarish alien warship.
Director(s): Liam O'Donnell
Actor(s): Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Iko Uwais
Genre: Sci-fi, Thriller