15 December 2017




'We're under attack. Was that terrorists or what?'
'ISIS doesn't have no fucking spaceship...'

You know what's great for taking your mind off your dead wife? An alien invasion, lol. Try it and see. By the end of the invasion, not only will you have forgotten your old missus completely, but you'll probably have a new spouse, complete with sprog, in tow as well. See? It's as easy as pie. It's a quick fix and all it costs is the destruction of the world as you know it...

This is the sequel to 2010's SKYLINE, which I haven't actually seen. As it's stand-alone, however, it shouldn't matter if you haven't seen the original. It's an alien invasion movie for the modern era, with more guns and ammo in it than you can shake a stick at, but why the bejeesus would you want to be shaking sticks like some primitive caveman who's just sighted a woolly mammoth when you have access to, like, the biggest arsenal in cinema history? Bagsie me the flame-thrower...!

Mark, the police officer hero, is super-cute. Tall, dark and handsome but no wet-behind-the-ears greenhorn, he's been around the block a few times and now he's heading down to the Los Angeles Police Department to pick up his troubled son Trent. Trent is a young man whose emotional pain at the death of his mother, Mark's beloved late wife Rose, has been causing him to act out and hit people. A good way to earn yourself a bed for the night down at the old LAPD.

The subway ride home isn't exactly uneventful. Aliens choose this exact hour to invade Los Angeles. A dazzling blue light emanating from their mother-ship draws the humans to it like dozey hipsters to the opening of a new falafel shop, including Trent who's, like, ridiculously easy to brainwash.

It's kind of funny the way his old man, Mark, has to keep pulling him back from the seductive light. Trent has some kind of mad death wish or something. First flash of a blue light and he's all, like, Imhotep, Imhotep! with outstretched arms and wild, staring eyes. Funny.

Mark and Trent each get sucked upstairs into the spaceship, along with two hangers-on. These are Sarge, a grizzled old blind black man who was in Vietnam and who now feels let down by the VA (Veterans' Association, maybe?), and an attractive female subway operative called Audrey, who loses no time in getting chummy with Mark.

Well, just because the Earth is under threat from an alien invasion is no excuse for a desperate unattached female not to make the most of every opportunity to land an attractive eligible man. He's a widower, right, so he's fair game. He'll have a new ring on that finger before long if minxy little Audrey has her way.

Up in the spaceship, which contains as much slime as we're accustomed to seeing in mother-ships, Mark achieves several things. He finds out that the aliens use human brains to drive their machinery. He also loses Trent. (If the aliens are after his frontal lobes, they needn't bother, lol.)

He attains a high level of competency in midwifery without so much as taking a single exam, and he gets his arm 'weaponised,' which seems to involve having a pointy metal finger, perfect for scratching one's big fat ass, attached to his arm. Well, you never know. It could come in handy. Someday. For something...

The second part of the film sees the spaceship coming down somewhere along the Mekong River, and Mark, Audrey and a kid who's growing at the rate of knots fighting off the aliens alongside a bunch of Laotian drug-runners.

This part I could have done without, but I suppose that the film-makers wanted to make use of their giant arsenal of weapons by giving the entire cast several guns and knives each and letting them loose on the robotic-looking aliens. Everyone, literally everyone, gets to feel important by holding a gun and pointing it at someone before blowing them away.

I'm actually completely anti-guns, but even I would pose in the mirror at home with one if I had one, just to see what I looked like. Like Marge in the episode of THE SIMPSONS where Homer gets a gun, but Marge keeps trying to make him get rid of it.

I mean, who among us hasn't at some point wanted to stand on a table in a diner, Tarantino-style, and point a gun at the clientele while threatening to blow away every mother-f**king last one of 'em if they won't play nicely, lol? Oh dear. I'll probably be shot for talking like this. Ooops, my bad. I did it again. I'll be shot now for sure. Ooops, I did it again...!

The film, a big-budget alien extravaganza comparable in scale to INDEPENDENCE DAY, will put you in mind of some of your other favourite sci-fi alien invasion films. SPECIES, a sexy alien film starring Michael Lend Me Your Ears! Madsen from RESERVOIR DOGS, also features the child-growing-up-faster-than-a-hipster-can-boast-about-his-new-hat thing.

What's that, you want me to stop the hipster-bashing? Never, haha. If they didn't want to constantly be the butt of jokes, they should never have tried to make out that they know more than the rest of us about creating artisan pizzas and doughnuts for a living, so there.

To get back to our favourite sci-fi/alien invasion movies, you'll also be reminded of FIRE IN THE SKY and Tom Cruise in WAR OF THE WORLDS, a film I love and consider to be one of the best alien movies ever made, but then I'm biased. I do love the Cruiser. He has such great teeth and hair. And his swift, urgent running in every film he makes is like a beautiful poem.

You'll also think of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, of course, and maybe even SIGNS, a great alien flick from M. Night Shyamalan which features Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix, eye-candy in any girl's book, wearing quirky little tinfoil hats to stop the aliens' from- ahem- reading their- ahem- thoughts. Cute.

I was also reminded of the TREEHOUSE OF HORROR episode of THE SIMPSONS in which either Kang or Kodos- you can't tell 'em apart- impregnates Marge and then returns, years later, to claim possession of their daughter, Maggie. The family ends up appearing on the Jerry Springer Show in the hopes that Jerry can help them solve their custodial difficulties and encapsulate a show's worth of wisdom into his 'Final Thought.'

There's this funny bit in the film where Mark and Audrey are naming the alien child. Mark repeatedly refers to her as the world's only hope. The word 'hope' is used repeatedly. What'll we call her? says Mark. Go on, Audrey, say Hope, we're all thinking. It's obvious that her f**king name is meant to be Hope. We'll call her Rose, says Audrey, sycophantically name-checking Mark's deceased wife to get in his good books. Good one, Audrey, you utter dipstick...!

Anyway, BEYOND SKYLINE is good, clean weapon-based fun and I would recommend it to any science fiction or alien invasion fans. There's some catchy one-liners in there too like 'Fuckin' aliens!' and 'Everything burns.' On the strength of it, I might even be tempted to check out the original film, SKYLINE. I only have one worry about doing that. I just really, really hope that they have enough guns...


Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:


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