GORE IN THE STORE
Directed by Liam O’Donnell.
Starring Lindsey Morgan, Alexander Siddig, Rhona Mitra.
Science-fiction, US, 110 minutes.
Reviewed as part of Arrow Video FrightFest Digital Edition 2.
The Skyline franchise is a rarity in terms of quality. The first entry released back in 2010 was a low rent piece of sci-fi schlock that had effects as impressive as its script and characters were vapid. Disappearing from the collective memory after its swift appearance on cinema screens no one really expected or wanted a sequel. Seven years later however Liam O’Donnell, making his debut as director after co-writing its predecessor and working in visual effects, somehow crafted a straight to digital follow up that upped the stakes in terms of quality with a cast packed full of genre favourites such as Frank Grillo, Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhihan and a story that expanded impressively in scope both globally and with its mythology.
O’Donnell returns with a third instalment that makes good on the previous films promise to take the fight back to the invading aliens who have been so intent on harvesting our brains to conquer the galaxy. Beginning with a packed recap that also fills in the gaps between then and now and the ongoing status of heroine Rose, an artificially aged girl who is equipped in her own way thanks to her birth on board one of the invaders vast spacecraft. Years after their attempt to take over Earth, alien hybrids live peacefully amongst humans in the ruined cityscapes. A mysterious virus however threatens to turn the hybrids back to their hostile nature unless Rose and a hand-picked team of battle-hardened soldiers venture into space to retrieve a piece of alien technology that could reset the balance.
Despite their relatively low budgets the SKYLINE films have never lacked in visual ambition. The up-tick in quality with the second entry sets hopes high that SKYLIN3S continues this streak. Despite expanding further in scope by stretching the locations from a decimated London to the vast reaches of outer space the story contracts, relying on a series of action set pieces between soldiers and a large number of men in monster suits. The presence of Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais is missed this time around. While Lindsey Morgan as Rose is appealing enough her supporting cast of cliched soldiers fail to measure up. The Earth-bound cast, including James Cosmo, Rhona Mitra and a severely underused Yayan Ruhihan do their best but have little more to do than go through the usual beats of running and shooting against a large enemy.
SKYLIN3S however manages to deliver exactly what it should; humans versus aliens and managing to deliver some impressively destructive effects of its interplanetary setting. Big spaceships and big aliens are the order of the day and once in a while we are gifted with a mixture of the two. Although its script may lack in originality, the staple ingredients are delivered with enough energy and verve that it makes for an easy and somewhat comforting watch. Whilst it may not attempt to try anything new or revolutionary sometimes the simple pleasure of various monsters and spaceships topped off with an alien limbed Yayan Ruhihan kicking other monsters in the face is all you need.