Anyone who claims there are no original ideas left in filmmaking owes it to themselves to see Beyond Skyline as soon as possible. There may have been other films like it, but never before has a feature-length film about alien invaders gone to such great lengths to ensure viewers are entertained. This is a surprisingly well-crafted series of Deus ex Machina moments that raise the bar for crazy again and again until you are left with your jaw agape while nearly two-hours of the most wonderfully absurd and original piece of alien warfare plays out in front of your stupefied face. There will be some who say it is too much, but those people will be wrong.
A sequel to the 2010 film Skyline that runs concurrently with the events of its predecessor, Beyond Skyline follows a father, Detective Mark Corley (Frank Grillo), who will stop at nothing to save his son after witnessing his only child being sucked into an alien spacecraft in the middle of Los Angeles. Corley follows his son onto the craft and proceeds to have something akin to Die Hard on a UFO. That is until he crashes the ship into Southeast Asia and joins a team of survivors to battle the brain-sucking invaders for ownership of the planet.
There’s also a baby. It’s an entirely unnecessary addition to an already busy narrative and the film’s first – of many – WTF moments.
You might not believe this, but that is less than half the plot contained within Beyond Skyline. This movie is one of the most sprawling, endlessly creative adventures brought to life on screen in some time. It also one of the most violent, with near nonstop gore throughout. The brain-sucking is real, and it is not pleasant to watch (but in a way – it is). There is also a wide array of gunplay, which is perhaps best highlighted by the first act discovery that anyone can wear alien technology as long as they’re willing to stick their arm in a strange hole aboard the ship and have their DNA permanently manipulated. It’s as wild as it sounds, and it’s not even close to most ridiculous idea the movie presents.
But that’s what makes Beyond Skyline a film that simply must be seen. In a time where studios are consolidating into what will no doubt one day become a singular corporate entity, the biggest films are feeling more and more repetitive. All the heroes in all the costumes from all the cinematic universes, both those gritty and those brightly lit, have essentially the same adventure. You never worry Earth is truly going to be destroyed, and even if it is there will no doubt be some alternate universe or time travel twist that makes things okay once more by the third act. Beyond Skyline is something different, and it goes out of its way to be as unique as possible every ten minutes or so from beginning to end. The twists are endless, each a bit more impossible to believe then the ones before, yet somehow they come together to make a truly unforgettable viewing experience.
Grillo commands center stage as Corley, offering the same stone-faced performance fans of The Purge series have come to expect from the action hero. His dedication to the material is admirable, as is that of everyone else involved. You know most scenes were likely shot on a soundstage, but Grillo commits with everything he has to make you believe the battle for our planet is real. He may never win an Oscar, but he’s more than earned his place in the shoot ’em up genre hall of fame with this bizarre creature feature.