JANUARY 10, 2010
There are a number of films that were disowned by their creators that I happen to like (Valentine is one, off the top of my head), so Harry Bromley Davenport’s dismissal of Xtro 2: The Second Encounter wasn’t really too much of a red flag for me. But 89 minutes later, I realized he was right on the money - this movie is a stunning bore, without a single good kill or even enough “so bad it’s good” moments to make it worthwhile.
Davenport also said that the film had no relation to the original, but I assumed he was exaggerating and that it simply didn’t have any returning characters. But no, this movie hasn’t even the slightest resemblance, which has to be a first (and last) for a movie that was filmed as a legit sequel (as opposed to say, a retitled Italian movie). The alien is no longer a parasite inside human forms; instead it’s a combination of a Chestburster from Alien and a Pumpkinhead from Pumpkinhead. And they keep mentioning an incident in Texas, but the first movie took place in London, so it actually feels like a sequel to a different movie entirely. Davenport said that he didn’t have the rights to the story, but I don’t think merely saying “London” instead of “Texas” would have caused him any legal trouble. Besides, since the film rips off Alien and Aliens at every turn, shouldn’t he be more worried about getting sued by Scott/Cameron?
But sequel continuity or not, it’s a wretched film from the first frame. The effects are terrible, and apart from the odd chest-bursting ripoff shot, none of the kills are shot/edited properly; you see a guy scream and then it cuts to someone throwing blood on the wall (I’m waiting for the movie so shitty that you actually see the crew member throwing the blood). Some are put together so poorly that I couldn’t even tell what was happening; there’s an elevator shaft scene where the Xtro seemingly plummets onto a guy and then they both fall down and get sliced up by a big fan (in an elevator shaft?), but I didn’t understand that until someone clarified it later. From my POV, the Xtro puppet fell, a guy screamed, and then someone lit a frozen turkey on fire and threw it at a fan.
In a way it’s sort of the prototype Sci-Fi original movie, the type that cluttered the 90s and early 00s before they switched to Bulgaria forests. You’ve got the underground base, the team of commandos, the has-been lead (Jan-Michael Vincent, whose past popularity remains a mystery to me), a bunch of crappy actors who inadvertently look the roles they are playing (lab techs, blue collar folks, etc; a Hollywood production would have amazingly beautiful women as lab techs, these broads wouldn’t be allowed within 50 yards of a Bruckheimer production), and a plot that is stolen from other movies. Character development is limited to a single adjective description (the “asshole”, the “funny guy”), or in some cases, a role from a better film (Nicholas “Krycek” Lea’s character, for example, is simply Michael Biehn’s Hicks with shittier dialogue).
I was entertained precisely twice during the entire fucking thing. At one point, a character informs “Dr. Shepard” of his plans to blow open a hatch, which made me think about Lost for a few minutes instead of paying attention to this movie. The second is when I realized that the main girl was also the mom in Silent Night Deadly Night. And thus, the phrase “Silent Night Deadly Night star’s career plummets” was born. Thanks, Xtro 2.
There’s a third one as well, which Davenport claims is his favorite. While I hardly doubt that it’s better than the first one (by all accounts, Xtro 3 doesn’t have circus animals or a naked Maryam D’Abo), I have to believe it’s better than this, so maybe I’ll check it out someday. I’m in no rush though.
What say you?