The Skyline franchise has managed to run to three movies – over the course of ten years – by taking risks, detours and being open to expanding its universe … it’s an interesting contrast with studio efforts like Battle Los Angeles, Battle Angel Alita or Battleship (hmmm – maybe there’s a lesson for titlers there) which would dearly like to be franchises but have fizzled after the first installment.
This has to offer a bullet point precis of Skyline and Beyond Skyline before picking up where the space opera coda of the last film left off – that brief scene introduced half-human Rose (Lindsey Morgan) as the head of a space armada out to strike back at the alien invaders (whose MO is to transform conquered species into big bodies they can pilot). We skip through some plot to get to a situation whereby the war heroine is in semi-disgrace and Earth is suffering as a disease ravages the former pilot population, and some impressive vistas of ruined London riddled with fallen alien tech.
In a refugee camp, Rose is apprehended by the authorities and General Radford (Alexander Siddig) shanghais her to command a mission to retrieve a macguffin from the enemy – heading off-planet with a sketchy crew. Skyline creator Liam O’Donnell, who directs and co-writes (with Joshua Cordes), unashamedly draws on s-f action models, with a lot of business here in the Starship Troopers or Aliens mode – though it’s also a bit like a mammoth Dr Who episode, with a lot of alien-zapping action in cavernous corridors and pulp paperback/progrock album cover vistas of spacescapes. It’s action-oriented, but the plot has more twists than expected as the franchise itself continues to evolve. The international cast includes Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo and Daniel Bernhardt. Yes, there’s space for more of these.