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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Beyond Skyline

November 28, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Beyond Skyline

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #486: Beyond Skyline

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that firmly believes, after watching Beyond Skyline, the world needs more movies where Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais kill aliens via hand-to-hand combat, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and eighty-six, I take a look at the sequel Beyond Skyline, which arrived widely in December of 2017.

Beyond Skyline

BeyondSkyline

Beyond Skyline, written and directed by Liam O’Donnell, is a sequel to the alien invasion flick Skyline, which received a wide theatrical release back in 2010. While Skyline had a nice look, great production values, and a top notch cast, the movie’s ending ruined what was looking like a superb modern sci-fi flick. Instead of that potential classic, Skyline was, at best, a movie that looked good but ultimately played badly. Since Skyline was made for around ten million dollars and made almost seven times that amount at the global box office, a sequel was likely. The question was when would it happen? Would the producers try to bang out a sequel immediately, or would it take a few years to get a second movie off the ground? And what the heck would a sequel even look like, considering the way the first movie ended?

Beyond Skyline, which, according to Wikipedia was filmed in 2014, stars Frank Grillo as Mark Corley, a scumbum badass LAPD detective and single father with an older son, Trent (Jonny Weston), who has issues with the law. After bailing out Trent for yet another brush with the cops, Corley and Trent take the subway to go home. In the midst of a deep conversation about their relationship, the subway train experiences serious distress and derails. Corley tries to find out what the heck happened by asking the train driver Audrey (Bojana Novakovic) if she knows anything. Corley finds out pretty quickly that Audrey is in the same boat as he is; she doesn’t know anything. So Corley organizes the train’s passengers and they all head for the subway exit. It’s at this point that Corley and the others find out that the city, and quite possibly the Earth, are being invaded by aliens that have some sort of blue light weapon that literally sucks people up into the sky and into multiple spaceships. Trent almost gets sucked into one of the ships, but Corley manages to save him. So Corley and a few of the others, including Audrey, run away and try to hide. There’s some real deal bad shit going down and they’ve got to figure out what to do next.

So Corley, Trent, and Audrey team up with some other survivors, including Corley’s cop buddy Garcia (Jacob Vargas), and they try to contact the authorities. The cops, army, anybody. They do manage to contact someone, but the cops and the government are caught off guard and hopelessly mismatched against the invading aliens. I mean, the authorities nuke goddamn Los Angeles and doesn’t do anything except destroy LA. There doesn’t appear to be much hope of survival for anyone, but Corley and his group are going to make an effort to do so. And so they fight on for a little while until they all get sucked up into one of the spaceships. It was eventually going to happen.

Inside the ship, Corley finds out what it is the aliens want with humanity. Basically, the aliens capture people and then cover them in some kind of goo until the aliens are ready to remove people’s brains and implant them in alien machinery. Weird? Absolutely. Does it make any sense? Why the hell does it matter if it makes sense? It’s goddamn happening! It’s at this point that Corley decides to go on a “seek and destroy” mission to find Trent and any other still alive people he can find. Corley does eventually find Trent and Audrey and a pregnant woman that gives birth to a little girl. Corley also runs into Jarrod (Tony Black), the alien machine with the human brain that essentially turned on the aliens at the end of the first movie. Jarrod and Corley then team up and start to take on and dismantle the alien ship and its weapons systems and whatnot. It’s at this point that the main alien bad guy decides that he’s had enough of this Jarrod shit and goes right at him. Trent is also captured at this point and gets his brain removed. Shit.

And so Jarrod gets his ass kicked by the main bad guy alien, but Jarrod also manages to use some sort of glowing orb grenade thing to blow up a huge chunk of the ship, an action that allows Corley and the survivors he’s managed to gather up to escape. Eventually, the ship crashes into Laos and Corley and the survivors scurry away. They don’t scurry away to safety, though, as on the ground in Laos there are both aliens and local armed thugs to deal with. Jesus Christ, man, can’t anyone catch a break in this story?

It’s at this point that Corley, Audrey, and the baby are captured by the brother-sister duo of Sua and Kanya (Iko Uwais and Pamelyn Chee), members of the local human resistance. Corley and the survivors also meet Harper (Callan Mulvey), a British scientist/doctor who seems to know quite a bit about what the heck is going on with the aliens, the baby (it isn’t a baby anymore. The little girl is now like four years old and she’s been alive for like ten hours. How the hell is that even possible?), and what the human resistance needs to do to defeat the aliens. Will it happen? Will what’s left of humanity beat back the otherworldly invaders?

What makes Beyond Skyline infinitely better than its predecessor is that the whole thing doesn’t feel pointless, the humans actually have a chance against the aliens. What I hated about the first movie was its sense of total despair. Yes, the Jarrod human/alien machine hybrid thing was alive and well and destroying things and whatnot, but it wasn’t readily apparent that that was what was going on. I thought that I just watched the total extinction of humanity in a movie and there was no reason for it beyond humanity being unprepared for it. With Grillo’s Corley leading the charge and the great Iko Uwais showing up to fight the good fight, humanity might have a chance. The aliens still have the upper hand, but both Grillo and Uwais are badasses, and badasses are what you need to fight off the bad guys in a massive alien invasion type situation.

The alien special effects are also easier to understand in Beyond Skyline. You can tell what the aliens are doing, the aliens are incredibly disgusting looking, and there’s a nice mix between CGI sets and practical sets. The inside of the alien spaceship is terrifying. There’s goo and piles of dead bodies everywhere. How is that not scary as hell? It’s also cool how there are aliens that are clearly CGI and there are aliens that are men in suits. The men in suits aliens are the ones that engage in the showstopper hand-to-hand brawls with Grillo, Uwais, and the great Yayan Ruhian, who shows up as a local police chief who joins the human resistance and kicks some major alien ass.

I can’t stress enough how cool the human/alien hand-to-hand fights are. There are several human-on-human martial arts fights, too, but they pale in comparison to the awesomeness that is Iko Uwais slicing an alien up with a machete. It’s freaking amazing. Why haven’t we seen more of this kind of thing? Why aren’t more movies trying to emulate what writer/director O’Donnell and Uwais put together in this movie (Uwais also served as the movie’s action choreographer)? I know that Beyond Skyline didn’t receive a major theatrical release, but that shouldn’t prevent other action flicks from trying to improve upon what Beyond Skyline put together. Again, the human-on-alien martial arts brawls are a thing to behold and one of the movie’s main draws. You need to see Beyond Skyline simply for those fights.

There’s also some outstanding gore spread throughout the movie. The brain removal sequences are gross and disturbing, and there are some nasty looking knife wounds and shit when the story shifts to Laos. There are also multiple instances of bloody limb removals that will either make you cringe or stand up and cheer. I actually did both.

BeyondSkylineFight

The main cast is phenomenal. Grillo does an outstanding job as Corley. He’s a concerned father, a regular guy just trying to do his job, and a supreme badass that the world can count on to do the right thing (fight the fucking aliens until the very end). Every aspect of Grillo’s performance is spot on. This guy needs his own badass movie franchise. He almost had one with The Purge but for some reason he didn’t want to continue with them after Election Year. The action movie world needs to find something else for him. The world needs Frank Grillo kicking ass; aliens, humans, whatever.

Iko Uwais also does a terrific job with his character Sua. He’s a fighter, a devoted family man, and a dude you just don’t want to mess with. When he starts killing aliens he goddamn kills aliens. The man is a star and needs more exposure in Hollywood. Uwais was one of the very few good things about the God awful Mile 22. I wish he could get more parts like Sua, where he actually matters and gets to show off what he can do. Awesome stuff.

BeyondSkylineUwais

Bojana Novakovic does a decent job as Audrey, the subway train conductor who gets caught up in the human resistance simply by accident. She’s pretty resourceful for a regular person, and I’d imagine that she will continue to be an asset to the human resistance as the Skyline story continues. I was surprised she didn’t get her brain sucked out twenty minutes in. Subway conductors rarely get any respect in movies.

I was prepared to hate Jonny Weston as Trent. I thought Trent was going to be one of those asshole characters that, for whatever reason, people like despite being just awful. Thankfully, Trent doesn’t end up being that character and is actually kind of cool. It’s a damn shame when the aliens remove his brain.

And then there’s Antonio Fargas, who shows up as a blind homeless guy named Sarge. I have no idea why the former Huggy Bear/Flyguy is in the movie, but he does a damn good job playing a defiant blind guy and, ultimately, it’s always a hoot to see him in anything. And Jacob Vargas needs his own movie/TV show where he plays a cop, like a dramedy or something. As we see with his Garcia character, he has the chops and presence to do both in something. He was also good in the Death Race remake that Paul W.S. Anderson did ten years ago.

The ending of Beyond Skyline suggests that the producers want to make a third movie, and it looks like Beyond Skyline made enough money to make that happen. Will that third movie actually end up the movie that the ending of Beyond Skyline suggests, with an invasion of the alien world by Earth? We’ll see soon enough, I guess. I’d much rather see Grillo and Uwais fight more aliens hand-to-hand, but that could just be me.

Anyway, I can’t recommend Beyond Skyline enough. It has everything in it. Badass fights, aliens, special effects that actually look good, people getting their brains ripped out, and real deal action stars like Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais. I hope we get to see more of this kind of thing in the future. The world clearly needs more of it.

See Beyond Skyline. See it, see it, goddamn see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Untold billions.

Explosions: Multiple, both big and small.

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: A woman in a hospital, a woman doing a voiceover, Los Angeles, mouthwash, the LA subway, big fucking train issues, blue light hooey, ground shaking, an alien invasion, attempted shotgun hooey, big alien spaceships that send out smaller alien spaceships, stealth fighter attack, nuclear attack on Los Angeles, serious shotgun hooey, bloody full brain removal, road flare out inside a gas tank, exploding car, exploding alien, total billboard destruction, a giant alien machine with a hand that has the ability to suck things into it, attempted rescue choppers, multiple piles of dead human bodies, goo, spike through the leg, barfing, gory devastation, eggs hanging from the ceiling, anti-alien alien attack, wound cauterizing, a woman in labor, crying, an alien standoff, attempted brain sucking, gut stabbing, a glowing ball grenade thing, exploding spaceship, flamethrower hooey, a kung fu fight in the middle of an alien encounter, body stabbing, serious throat stabbing, a flying tackle, hut destruction, double knife/stick fight, blood transfusion hooey, landmine hooey, exploding alien, exploding tunnels, major machine gun hooey, head crushing, RPG hooey, decapitation, throat slashing, serious hand-to-hand fighting, giant leg removal, bloody arm removal, and a much better ending.

Kim Richards?: Big time.

Gratuitous: Los Angeles, Frank Grillo, Antonio Vargas, Frank Grillo taking the LA subway, an alien invasion, Frank Grillo pissed off and inside an alien spaceship, Frank Grillo barfing, a brain sucking machine, flamethrower hooey, Iko Uwais, “Holy shit” in Laotian, a British doctor, examining blood via microscope montage, Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais fighting aliens hand-to-hand, multiple exploding aliens, a British doctor getting high, an alien-human fist bump, and the possibility of a third movie.

Best lines: “You look worse than I imagined,” “Just get in the fucking truck, smartass,” “Fuck procedure! Move! Move!,” “Jones! Where the fuck is everybody?,” “Hey! Where y’all going?,” “We’re under attack!,” “Fucking aliens, man,” “They fucking nuked LA,” “Everything fucking burns. Amen to that,” “Come and get me motherfucker!,” “You’re gonna get us killed, kid,” “I know this. I’ve seen this,” “Dad! Save me!,” “Bring it on, bitch!,” “What if we destroyed this?,” “Motherfucker!,” “We need to get out of this valley,” “When I was up on that ship all I saw is one real alien. The rest were just… slaves,” “What the hell happened to the baby?,” “Hey! Some shit still matters!,” “Forty years ago we survived the American apocalypse. We’ll survive this one, too,” “I don’t know if she’s human,” “Are you sure he’s not doing the drugs?,” “We need to use one of their cannons,” and “Fucking Americans!”

Rating: 9.0/10.0

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Things to Watch Out For This Week

CrittersCollection

The Critters Collection: This new boxed set comes to us from the fine folks at Shout! Factory/Scream Factory and, based on the number of extras and shit that have been assembled for all four movies, this set is the ultimate Critters franchise release. All four movies, Critters, Critters 2: The Main Course, Critters 3, and Critters 4 have actual, real deal special features, including both commentaries and documentary featurettes. The Mick Garris commentary track for part 2 will no doubt be a highlight of the set. It’s about time that the Critters franchise got some love. It managed to produce four movies and was, by and large, fun throughout. How many franchises can you say that about? A definite must have for Critters fans and those who like badass home video sets.

ZombieBU

Zombie: This is the big, new 3-disc limited edition Blu-ray from William Lustig’s Blue Underground label and, from the early reviews and whatnot I’ve seen, this is going to be the definitive home video edition of this late 1970’s zombie classic from Lucio Fulci. There are three different covers (there’s one featuring the bridge, there’s one featuring the wooden splinter through the eye sequence, and the iconic main zombie face) and it looks like the third disc is going to be a CD of the movie’s soundtrack. This, much like the boxed set for Critters, is looking like a must have for horror movie nerds. A 4K restoration of the movie, tons of special features including a new commentary track, and the knowledge that the overall home video presentation is going to be badass as fuck (Blue Underground always delivers). Again, a must have of the highest order. Any Zombie fans out there?

MrsClausDVD

Mrs. Claus: This is a new, mega low budget slasher horror flick from the fine folks at Wild Eye Releasing and is all about hip and edgy college students being stalked and killed by a loonbag dressed as the wife of Santa Claus. The great Brinke Stevens is apparently in it, which is always cool, but the real draw for this will no doubt be the kill scenes. Will they be any good? Damned if I know. I will say, though, that it’s great to see people still cranking out cheap holiday themed slasher flicks because, as far as I’m concerned, the world needs more of that kind of thing. Very rentable. I wonder how many new Christmas themed horror flicks we’re going to get this holiday season.

OuijaDeathTrap

Ouija Death Trap: The great Todd Sheets, the man behind the recently released low budget werewolf/killer wackadoodle flick Bonehill Road (it’s still available at Walmart), apparently directed this low budget found footage horror flick about dipshit high school students fucking around with a Ouija board in a haunted manor. According to imdb Ouija Death Trap was made in 2014 and has been sitting around for four years awaiting release. Why? No idea. The trailer doesn’t look bad, so it’s probably not for “quality” reasons. Maybe Wild Eye and Sheets just couldn’t figure out when to put it out there? The movie was originally called Spirits and received some sort of very limited VHS release, so there’s a chance that you’ve seen it under that title somewhere. Maybe. At a festival or something. Much like Mrs. Claus, rent this first, just to see what it’s all about. That’s what I would like to do.

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Do you like Cult TV?

KolchakNSDVD

The 1970’s TV thriller Kolchak: The Night Stalker is first up! Check out what I think about the show with the links below!

Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3
Issue #4

… and coming soon: Street Hawk!

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B-Movie News

JohnnyZjOHNNYz

The first trailer for Johnny Z is here!: Johnny Z is the latest from director Jonathan Straiton and writer Ron Bonk, the people behind the epic low budget zombie flick Night of Something Strange (check out my review of that movie here). It looks like Johnny Z will be a very different kind of zombie movie compared to Strange, featuring more action and fighting and whatnot. Martial artist and stunt performer Felix Cortes is featured quite prominently in the trailer, kicking ass with a knife and owning every mindless undead bastard that comes his way. We also get a glimpse at the main character, Johnny Z, which will be played by Michael Merchant.

Johnny Z is set to be released sometime in 2019. Be sure to follow the movie on its official Facebook page (check that out here) for updates. Or you could just keep reading this column every week because I can promise you that I will be talking about Johnny Z quite a bit up until it’s release. I think the movie looks pretty damn awesome.

Robocop

We also have a trailer for the new Robocop documentary Robodoc: The Creation of Robocop: As I write this, the trailer is not available on YouTube but can be seen over on Entertainment Weekly’s website (go here to see it). As a full on Robocop nerd, this documentary has me super excited, as it looks like just about everyone involved in the creation of the movie is in this documentary, including director Paul Verhoeven. According to imdb this documentary is also going to look at the two sequels, which will no doubt be awesome, too. As far as I can tell, Robodoc will be out in 2019 at some point. Hopefully it will be widely available as this looks like something I will want to own and watch multiple times. So go ahead and check out that trailer again and be on the lookout for this documentary. That’s what I plan to do.

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Check out my Widow’s Point set visit report!

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Read it here!

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Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!

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Next Issue: Van Damme December begins with Death Warrant!

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Interviews

david j. moore
Jino Kang
Vladimir Kulich
Paul Mormando
Michael Matteo Rossi
Tyrone Magnus
Hector Barron
Jeffrey Orgill
Michael Baumgarten
R. Marcos Taylor
Don “The Dragon” Wilson
Paul Kyriazi
Eric Jacobus
Juju Chan
Luke LaFontaine
Marco Siedlemann
Sam Firstenberg
Amariah Olson
Alexander Nevsky
Mathias Hues
Kristanna Loken
Steve Mitchell
Albert Pyun
Brad Thornton
Mathieu Ratthe
Damien Power
Kelsey Carlisle
Mike Dwyer
Nicholas Bushman
Brahim Achabbakhe
Etcetera
Richard LeMay
Andrew David Barker
Cynthia Rothrock
Leslie Simpson
C. Courtney Joyner
Eric Miller
Alexander Nevsky (2)
Christopher Lawrence Chapman
James Mark
Casper Van Dien
Chris Mark
James E. Wilson
Barry Hunt
Vincent J. Roth
Mathew Ziff
Brandon Tyler Russell
Barry Hunt (2)
Lobsang Tenzin
Dylan Reynolds
Paul Kyriazi(2)
Lincoln Bevers
Nassasin Nuri
Hannah Janssen
Harry Mok
Daniel Roebuck
Sage Croft
Stephen van Vuuren
Cheryl Wheeler Sanders
Eric Jacobus (2)
David William No
Nicholas Verdi
Luke LaFontaine (2)
Roger Yuan
Dominik Starck
Tamas Nadas
Tyler Savage
Robert McGinley
Tim Gouran
Billy Ray Brewton
Leo Scherman
Harley Di Nardo
Jino Kang(2)
Alexander Nevsky (3)
Steve Latshaw
Rick Hurst
Douglas Burke
Jeff Farley

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Beyond Skyline

Frank Grillo– Mark Corley
Iko Uwais– Sua
Bojana Novakovic– Audrey
Jonny Weston– Trent
Callan Mulvey– Harper
Antonio Fargas– Sarge
Pamelyn Chee– Kanya
Yayan Ruhian– The Chief
Jacob Vargas– Garcia
Samantha Jean– Elaine
Lindsey Morgan– Captain Rose

Directed by Liam O’Donnell
Screenplay by Liam O’Donnell

Distributed by Vertical Entertainment

Rated R for sequences of bloody sci-fi violence and language throughout
Runtime– 106 minutes

Buy it here