Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

First a short editorial. I’ve said it before and I imagine it bears repeating but from my personal perspective past performance has no bearing on future gains. All I’m saying is I approach each project as a new one. This approach can’t affect expectations because expectations are ingrained but nonetheless whatever an artist did last will have minimal affect on what this artist is doing right now. At least to me. Thus we have ‘Skyline’ from the effects guru’s called The Brothers Strauss. In 2007 The Brothers Strauss directed ‘AVP: Requiem’ which for my money was one of the worst theatrically released movie of that year, if not the worst. Absolutely terrible. But that was then. Now we have the alien invasion movie ‘Skyine’ with AVP: Requiem playing no part in what we think of this movie other than expectations have been uncontrollably set to low. Now I’ve read some awful, awful things about this movie ‘Skyline’, to the point where some of this vitriolic diatribe felt almost personal, but I’ll have you know that I actually enjoyed this movie, derivative though it may have been. Now if that ruins my creditability, as if I actually had any to begin with, then so be it… but I will always tell you the truth my friends.

One morning while visiting Los Angeles for his good friend Terry’s Birthday party, Jerrod (Eric Balfour) and his lady Elaine (Scotty Thompson) are awakened by the rumbling earth and a bright blue light. What in the world is going on? Well for starters one might want to make it a point not look in the light which has already snatched Ray (Neil Hopkins) and it was about to take Jerrod until his good friend Terry (Donald Faison) cross body blocked him from leaping off the penthouse terrace.

Even though this is Los Angeles, this kind of thing isn’t normal as Terry and Jerrod go out on the roof to find out the deal. It’s not good. The mother ships have descended from the clouds sucking up thousands of Los Angelinos into its belly while simultaneously releasing hordes of flying beasties and giant hulking minions into the city to pick up what’s left.

Now it is officially time to freak out as Terry, Jerrod, Scotty, Terry’s lady Candace (Brittany Daniel) and Terry’s personal tramp Denise (Crystal Reed)… Note that Terry’s rich and rich people tend to have personal tramps, can’t wait ‘til we all get rich… anyway, our heroes try to figure out what’s going on and hopefully figure out a way to survive what looks to be the end of man.

So what exactly is going on? Why is this happening? What do these creatures want? Is any of that really all that important? Seriously? If it is important to you I’m afraid you are out of luck because nobody’s going to you tell nuthin’! You could ask one of those murderous creatures but their communication skills leave a lot to be desired.

There are some mighty unbelievable things going on in this movie but probably the most unbelievable thing was an overhead scene early on showing Jerrod and Elaine being chauffeured from LAX on what I guess was the 105, in the middle of the day, and there being no traffic. I almost walked out right there. Aliens descending from the sky sucking out peoples brains I can get with… but that? Come on. I can only suspend belief so far.

I will admit I was a little surprised the Strauss Brothers got studio funding to make another movie after the tragedy that was ‘AVP: Requiem’ until I learned these enterprising young men funded this movie all by themselves. Good for them. It’s also good for them that I also happened to like a good old fashion styled monster movie, which at its core is what ‘Skyline’ is. A good monster doesn’t need much justification for what it does, it just does what does and not surprisingly the best part of this movie are the monsters and the special effects supporting these monsters. Personally I thought the movie moved at a nice clip and because of the plethora of action sequences, explosions, detonated nukes, human carnage and monster mayhem, so I can safely say that I was never bored or disinterested while watching ‘Skyline’.

Now for those who are overly critical of this little sci-fi monster movie I am afraid I can offer very little in the way of rebuttal. It is derivative of better movies that have come before it as you will no doubt see elements of ‘Independence Day’, ‘The Matrix’ and ‘War of the Worlds’ just to name of few of the movies that ‘Skyline’ liberally borrows from. Yes, the story is sketchy at best and the characters are mighty unlikable for the most part, but when a metallo organic regenerative monster is sucking your brain out it’s hard to be cordial. There are other issues you could pick at if you so chose… True enough I’ve never flown a B-1 Stealth bomber but I don’t think they can move with that kind agility. Ducking behind a kitchen counter probably isn’t adequate protection for a nuke detonated a half a mile away. Considering all their high tech gadgetry these space monsters don’t seem to be all that bright and as such I really wouldn’t have minded seeing who was running this show because I know it wasn’t them.

We can see it. ‘Skyline’ comes up short in a lot of categories but we still enjoyed it. For light, mindless Saturday afternoon entertainment, which is how I saw this movie before rushing home to watch some corrupt college football, ‘Skyline’ fit the bill.

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