You always cut a little slack for trash cinema that knows it’s trash.
So props to the folks who made the green screen monstrosity “Beyond Skyline,” a creature-feature sequel to the 2010 aliens-invade-LA thriller “Skyline.” Nobody involved took this fight aliens, kill aliens or die a noble death going out with a badass one-liner B-movie seriously. That’s why they filled the closing credits with funny outtakes, green-screen “So THAT’S how they did that” clips and such.
Aliens that look like Predators who fly ships that could have been parked in “District 9” on “Independence Day” attack LA, and we see this from fresh characters’ perspective with one holdover from the first film rather illogically connecting the two films.
Frank Grillo plays Mark, a hard-drinking cop trapped on the LA subway when the blue-light loving monsters from space attack.
That light, emanating from their ships, draws humans towards it like fundamentalists ready for the Rapture. They’re literally hauled skyward into the ships in a scene both chilling and Biblical.
Mark finds himself dragging assorted passengers — including the material Audrey (Bojana Novakovic) — around LA, dodging the aliens until the aliens nab them and tuck them into a hive, straight out of “Alien.”
And that’s when things get really weird — aliens made from absorbed humans, one with conflicting loyalties, brawls within the ship, fights with alien robots of the “Pacific Rim” variety, and finally a crash landing in the Golden Triangle, not far from the shores of the Pacific Rim.
Because the investors wanted martial arts stars Iko Uwais and Yaan Ruhian (“The Raid”), actress Pamelyn Chee and the ruins of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat to figure in the proceedings. Somehow.
Hurling Angelinos and aliens into the middle of a drug war, where everybody’s armed with rocket-propelled grenades, claymore mines, flame-throwers and automatic weapons, certainly evens up the odds. At least in this silly movie.
“Tactical” nukes and Stealth bombers can only do so much. Such is the convention of the aliens-invade genre.
Writer-director Liam O’Donnell must have given the cast license to concoct at least some of their pithy one-liners, most of the “F—–g aliens,” and “ISIS don’t have no f—–g space ships” and “Hijo de puta” variety.
The martial arts fights with the monsters are an interesting twist, the effects surprisingly good — the ships, hive, assorted alien incarnations and that “Rapture” scene are striking.
But it’s trash cinema, start to finish. Not smart, not particularly ambitious, sort of an exploitation film with aliens.
And Antonio Fargas. That’s right, America’s favorite pimp-snitch of the ’70s plays Sarge, a blind veteran who gets off a little testy trash talk.
Probably all you need to know about “Beyond Skyline” is packed into that last paragraph and that one funny bit of casting.
MPAA Rating: R for sequences of bloody sci-fi violence, and language throughout.
Cast: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Pamelyn Chee, Iko Uwais, Antonio Fargas
Credits: Written and directed by Liam O’Donnell. An XYZ release.
Running time: 1:46