As far as unwarranted sequels go, you can’t get much more obscure than a seven year-old low-budget alien invasion franchise, that’s almost completely dropped off the map in the three-quarters of a decade since the first release. Remember Skyline, the surprisingly profitable world-ender from the brothers behind the equally unwanted Alien vs. Predator: Requiem? Maybe some brain-stealing blue tentacled aliens, or a picture of Eric Balfour screaming so loud his mouth does that thing snakes do when they dislocate their jaw will jog your memory like it did mine. Either way, there’s now a similarly cheap follow-on starring B-movie hero Frank Grillo, and rather shockingly, it’s ridiculously good fun.

Beyond Skyline is totally one million and a half percent batshit (it seems almost ironic that its title abbreviates to “BS”), but luckily for us, it’s in all the right places. Directors-now-turned-producers the Brothers Strause seem happy enough letting first-timer Liam O’Donnell take the reigns, writing and directing his way into one of the most weirdly convoluted, “surely they’re making this up as they go along?”-style plot-lines, which finds Grillo as a hard-nosed cop thrust into the very same alien invasion as the first movie, in order to save his deeply troubled son. Except that’s not even close to the full extent of it.

O’Donnell spends about half-an-hour basically remaking the original Skyline, before (rather hilariously) going beyond it, tying together three or four completely different movies-worth of plotting into one constantly meandering, but seriously entertaining spectacle. So what starts as another throwaway disaster flick (with shades of Syfy TV movie), quickly morphs into an Aliens-esque shoot-em-up, and eventually (and I’m totally not making this up) a martial-arts-infused full-on action extravaganza, a la The Raid. Starring Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian, the two main actors/choreographers from The Raid. So down to some bizarre twist of events, fans of both hardcore sci-fi and Far East beat-em-ups will all no doubt be weirdly satisfied here. 

And as down-right obscure as the whole thing is, it’s threaded together just about well enough to work. Each section has its issues: the first feels cheap and dated (with one of the most pointless character sacrifices this side of a Sharknado), the second takes a couple of ridiculously bold story leaps, and the third is well, totally at odds with everything that came before it. The whole thing feels more like a hastily cut trilogy in itself, rather than a middle-part sequel. But in keeping the pace and the action sky-high all the way through, it’s impossible not to find yourself rollicking along with Grillo and friends.

Even as the third act well and truly jumps the cybernetic, brain-hungry alien shark all the way through to the final credits (which play instantly, over a tonally-clashing gag reel), Beyond Skyline remains an experience. A mindblowingly silly, seriously extravagant and really mostly un-called for experience, but one the right audience will have a totally wild and unexpected blast with.

Beyond Skyline
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beyond-skyline-reviewA trilogy of madness all crammed into just over 100 minutes; on one hand it’s brighter, bolder and significantly more badass than the original. On the other, it’s totally, unequivocally preposterous.