By: John M Jerva
THE REVIEW: It’s hard to believe that when the original Skyline debuted in 2010 that we would be here today talking about the third and supposed final film in the slam bang sci-fi action franchise but alas here we are indeed talking about the newest entry titled Skylines or SKYLIN3S as it was originally named. Filmmaker Liam O’Donnell returns once again in the director’s chair and O’Donnell, who wrote, produced and did the visual effects for the first film, brings genre fans another shot of adrenalized action, special effects and thrills in what is the best entry in the series thus far.
I enjoyed the first film for what it was and consider the second film one of the best action films of 2017 with the addition of Frank Grillo and Iko Uwais as that installment pumped in some awesome martial arts action to boot. Sadly, Grillo and Uwais are not involved this time around but that’s OK as O’Donnell has given us 90’s action star and veteran on screen fighter Daniel Bernhardt to take over in the film’s many dramatic action set pieces and being a fan of his from his Bloodsport film days, I was excited to see how he was used. We’ll get to that later on, just be patient.
This time around Lyndsey Morgan (The CW’s The 100) is front and center center as Rose Corley who reprises her role from the ending of the second film as the one and only human/alien hybrid who may be Earth’s final chance to save mankind from the new hostile alien threat that has emerged. Unfortunately, Rose is off the grid after a mission she was involved in years prior went terribly awry. Thius plotline sets up the dramatics later on.
Years after the second film, humans and hybrids, who are called “Pilots” are living in co-existence on a ravaged Earth. Unfortuantely, there seems to be a new virus emerging that is turning once the once peaceful alien “Pilots” back into their human hunting selves and this new threat prompts General Radford (Alexander Siddig) to form an elite unite of soldiers to embark on a savage do or die mission to the aliens home world of Cobalt 1 to save mankind as we know it. Rose must forget the past and lead these brave men and women on the mission of a lifetime or all hope will be lost. It’s time to bring the fight to them people and boy do they!
By this time there have been many reviews written about the movie and as always, I tend to stay away from them so I can generate my own honest opinion and to tell you the truth, I was a little bummed when I heard that Grillo and Uwais wouldn’t be reprising their roles as their involvement in the second entry brought it to a whole new level. I was basically thinking, how could they top that one as it was one of my favorite sequels.
I remember watching Skylines on my computer as I had to because I was given a screening link to view it from the PR firm and while I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this new film not only crushed my fears but it exceeded all my expectations at the same time. Something was missing though and I couldn’t quite put my finger on the dilemma.
Cue to today and the release of the film on Digital and VOD as well as select theaters and I bought it on VUDU and now I can tell you that I’m glad I waited to write my review until I watched it again on my 75 inch Ultra 4K TV. This is definitely the type of film that needs to be appreciated on a big screen and unfortunately it isn’t playing in a theater near me that’s opened so home viewing will have to suffice but let me tell you that Skylines is visually stunning and the action set pieces literally pop off the screen. If you’re one to hold out for the physical media release of the film then I strongly suggest that you rent the movie and watch it on the big screen because you won’t be disappointed.
The cast is great and Lyndsey Morgan is simply bad ass as Rose Corley. I never did watch the TV show The 100 but let me tell you that I may check it out now if she is anything on that series like she is here in the movie. Morgan has ample opportunity to showcase her female action hero chops here and although I’m sure some stunt work was involved, she certainly looks the part in the pyhsical aspect of the role. You have to care about her character however and Morgan also handles the dramatic side just as well and brings a sense of vulnerability to Rose as well. Morgan has a bright future in the industry and this film is the perfect launching pad to make her more of a household name.
The rest of the cast bring their “A” game as well and I was happy to see Rhona Mitra, who has starred in such fun action films as Hard Target 2 and Doomswday as well as a starring stint on Strike Back and here she gets to have fun as Dr. Mal in the key action sequences on Earth. Mitra has a certain gravitas to her and she always looks tough as nails in any of these types of roles. As you can tell by the below image, Mitra gets to go all John Woo on the aliens and it is a nice collaboration with the action that bis going on in space at the same time.
I also have to do an honorable mention to Jonathon Howard who plays Leon the brother to the sister that dies in the mission that Rose was on years earlier. His character turns out to be very important to the plot and to Rose and he has a few chances to shine in the action department as well. It was also great to see The Raid’s Yayan Ruhian return as Huan and if Iko Uwais couldn’t be back, it was great fun to see the little destroyer come back for another round of punishing aliens. I wasn’t expecting to see him pop up and even though his action is limited at the end, it’s always welcome to see him mlet loose on humans or aliens alike.
Now comes the part of the review where I talk about the great addition of John Wick and Bloodsport franchise star Daniel Bernhardt. Like I said prior, I was disappointed to find out that Grillo and Uwais wouldn’t be around this time but Bernhardt without a doubt fills that void and he looks sensational as Owens who is one of the elite mercenaries that goes on the mission with Rose. I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten excited to hear a certain actor was in a movie only to watch said movie and find out that they were criminally underused or not at all. I hear that Tony Jaa is mistreated in the new Monter Hunter movie so that right there is an example. Well, what’s the consensus here? I can definitely tell you that when O’Donnell messaged me on twitter and said that you will “feel the Bernhardt” he meant it people. Bernhardt has a substatntiual role here and he brings the action street cred as always. It’s awesome to see him getting all these opportunities to star in some pretty high profile films and here, Bernhardt gets to use his lethal onscreen fighting skills to full effect. The showstopper is his throwdown with Cha-Lee Yoon who plays Zi and while I wish it was a tad longer, it is most certainly worth the price of admission. Berrnhardt might be older now but he looks just as good as he did in the Bloodsport sequels and True Vengeance which is probably my favorite film of mine from his filmography. Fans of the action star will not be disappointed although I will say that there is a twist to his character that I did not enjoy but alas it was still tremendous to see him fight again and he hasn’t lost a step.
Now both the first and second films were virtual roller coaster rides and the second one brought it to the next level but O’Donnell has saved his best for last and the third film is a master class of sci-fi action excitement. I won’t spoil any of the theatrics for you but I will say that the entire running length of the movie is almost non-stop and the action set pieces make this one of the best action flicks of the year and it is arguably the best way to end the year that was certainly void of a lot of action entertainment due to the pandemic. We have humans fighting aliens, aliens fighting aliens, humans fighting humans and more in a treasure trove of action packed goodness. It’s a massive feast for the senses and what makes it more impressive is the fact that this movie probably didn’t have the budget of a Disney Star Wars movie. The visual effects and action choreography are top tier and here’s hoping that even though they say this is the finale that it does well enough for the number crunchers to say “hey we want another one!”
The action goes back and fourth from Cobalt 1 to Earth as humanity and the “Pilots” that are still good wage a never ending assault on the baddies and the audience comes out the winner for it. O’Donnell employed Reel Deal Action to handle the action and fight coordination which is also handeled by Yoon and they did one spectacualr job crafting one thrilling action sequence after another. I can’t tell you the last time I saw a movie that encompassed firefights, space battles and hand to hand matial arts carnage all at the same time and the 12 year old inside of me was grinning from ear to ear.
Overall: I could talk about some of the imperfections of the movie but why bother as they pale in comparison to everything that the film delivers. Genre fans will get their full dose of sci-fi action extreme and Daniel Bernhardt not only shows up in the role of Owens but he delivers one of the best action performances of the year. Lyndsay Morgan is the real deal and she literally takes the movie and puts it on her shpoulders because lets face it, she is the key to the entire plot and she kicks just as much ass as anyone else. Director Liam O’Donnell once again proves that he is fast becoming an action maestro and in no time I expect him to be helming a bigger budgeted Hollywood picture. Instead of checking out Monster Hunter, which sounds like a huge disappoint, this weekend, support this film and take in a good shot of fun sci-fi action entertainment. It may be December but Skylines is without question the big summer blockbuster that we never got this year!