An alien ship crashes into Los Angeles, hunting human brains and creating chaos, and all we have to stop it is Frank Grillo.
Welcome to Beyond Skyline, Liam O'Donnell's ridiculously 90's flavored action joint that couldn't care less what the Oscar-film-snob crowd thinks. It is here to entertain and take your mind off reality for a second. Did I tell you it's based on a true story? No, because I'd be lying. I wouldn't be lying if I told you this film was a whole lotta fun and a fine way to spend 105 minutes of your holiday vacation.
A sequel to the 2010 film, Skyline, O'Donnell's film ups the ante, brings in two proven action studs and doesn't let up for the entire running time. I'm not kidding. In this movie, people have conversations while they fight and barely need any clothing to fight the biggest battle of their lives.
Can I talk to you about Grillo's character, Mark, in this film? He helps a woman give birth, punches an alien in a tank top, and maintains perfect hair all in a five-minute sequence. The reason Grillo is redefining the way action heroes in Hollywood operate is because everything Mark does, we fully believe Grillo can also do. That is what you call pure authenticity. Sure, there is acting taking place, but when Grillo gets mad and starts throwing punches with an alien blade attached to his right arm, you don't have to think twice whether it's a movie or a day in the life of Frank as he rolls around Santa Monica.
This movie is blood-drunk and gleefully R-rated. Zero punches are pulled. The plot is as simple as rain. Mark picks his son (Jonny Weston) up from lock-up and while he is laying one of those classic "you're better than this" pep talks on the troubled young man on a train ride, aliens show up and shine a mean bright light down on L.A. that starts sucking people up into its ship. Please, don't think too much here. It's all action bravado gravy from here on out, as Mark and company try to fight their way out of chaos and learn the alien's weakness.
Beyond Skyline does have quite a few surprises up its sleeves. When someone you have learned to care about gets its head ripped open, you'll understand this film means business. Right when you think it is falling into classic action hero territory, a small twist is revealed, raising the stakes of the plot, which there is just enough of to make the combat stand up.
Uwais is something else. The Indonesian star of The Raid gets his moment with Grillo, and it's a fight sequence that O'Donnell could have sold on pay-per-view. You are nearly saddened when they become allies and fight the aliens together.
Look, this isn't your grandpa's ordinary action flick. It's brutally violent in parts and doesn't slow down. What O'Donnell has created here is a film with reckless abandon. A movie with a need to impose its will. You'll leave this film thinking about Total Recall, Aliens, and maybe even Running Man.
Tired of all the Christmas films on right now? Turn on Beyond Skyline for $7 on iTunes. It's a combination of A Christmas Story, It's Not a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on Venice Beach with a dash of Scrooge.
If you grew up on 1990's action films and want a taste of that glory again, watch this movie and relive the days where all a hero needed was a strong fist, half a t-shirt, and an unstoppable urge to save the day.
Thank you for this, Liam O'Donnell.