BEYOND SKYLINE REVIEWED
In case you didn’t know it already, Beyond Skyline is a sequel to the 2010’s sci-fi thriller Skyline. A seven-year gap between sequels isn’t really the norm these days, but it’s also not unheard of. After all, Aliens arrived that same amount of time after Alien. The gap between The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day is also of the seven-year variety. Don’t get me wrong, Beyond Skyline is not a game-changer of a sequel like either of those, but it does have more than a few things in common with each of them.
In both cases, the Alien and Terminator franchises were series that began with a low-key story and had their world exponentially expanded in the first sequel. Their initial follow-ups also upped the action quotient. Beyond Skyline does both of these things in spades. Whereas the first film centered mostly around a single location (an apartment complex) during a wild alien invasion of Earth, this one opens the scope up wide.
The film begins with a veteran cop (Frank Grillo) bailing his delinquent son out of jail. Since their family matriarch has passed on, the two have grown apart and the son has apparently taken to getting in fights that land him in the clink. Don’t expect too much relationship drama, however, as not long after they are on their way home, the alien invasion begins. The first act of this movie takes place roughly at the same time as the entirety of the first film and our leads are quickly abducted. After that, things only get wilder.
I’ve mentioned the first film a few times and while this one compliments it, as well as wraps up some of its dangling threads, you can safely sit down with Beyond Skyline if you haven’t seen the original. Writer/director Liam O’Donnell thoroughly lays out the world, its concepts, and the story so that you won’t be lost at all if this is your first experience with the franchise.
I wasn’t much of a fan of Skyline, but this one is a winner. It is well-paced from start to finish and jam-packed with action, fun practical effects, and imagination. The phrase “they don’t make them like this anymore” is a tired on, but sa spot-on description here. The late 1980s/early 1990s were filled with films like Predator, The Guyver, I Come in Peace, The Hidden, etc. that melded high-octane action and fight choreography with high-concept science fiction narratives. Beyond Skyline is right at home with that brand of cinema and for fans of such films, it makes for an incredibly entertaining ride.
O’Donnell knows this subset of film inside and out, deftly maneuvering within it, while also knowing what the limitations of his budget are. Whether he’s using practical sets and suitwork or utilizing modern digital FX and greenscreen, he brings this sci-fi action tale to life with a confident hand. Beyond Skyline might not be an instant genre classic like some of the films listed above, but it’d certainly make for the perfect final film in a great triple-feature with more recent must-see throwback sequels like Universal Soldier: Regeneration and Ninja 2: Shadow of a Tear. It’s another feather in the caps of stars Frank Grillo (The Purge series) and Iko Uwais (The Raid series), as well as a great first calling card as a director for O’Donnell. Bring on Skyline 3!
- 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Vertical Entertainment
- Cast: Frank Grillo, Bojana Novakovic, Iko Uwais, Jonny Weston, Pamelyn Chee, Callan Mulvey, and Yayan Ruhian