Bullet Points: Xtro II: The Second Encounter
I freaking love a good Aliens rip-off! If I had an endless supply of money I would spend the next ten yeas developing a franchise about a group of mercenary spec ops guys in the vein of The Expendables. I wouldn’t have all the legends like Sly does but I’d cast a whole bunch of guys who could legitimately kick an ass or two before dying in a memorable fashion. That is really all I want from my Aliens rip-off. The whole reason I even watched Xtro II is because I googled “movies that rip off Aliens” and it appeared to be a consensus top 3. Let’s just see about that….
Synopsis: A group of scientists discover and send a team into an alternate dimension. When the team is attacked and only one member returns, she begins to exhibit terrible symptoms that unleash a killer creature into the facility. Locked into the building with a murderous monster, the remaining scientists and a team of mercenaries try to survive long enough to escape from the bunker before it self-destructs.
- Sequel: I started Xtro 2 having never seen the first film in the franchise. I wasn’t worried much about my lack of knowledge, however, because I read that this movie doesn’t keep much from the first film and almost completely treads a new path. I saw some good things about the first movie but this one only has an IMDB rating of 3.1. That’s usually not a good sign.
- Strike Team: The one surviving scientist returns through the portal and might as well have just coughed AIDS all over everyone. She is clearly sick with something and yet no one thinks to quarantine her before she unleashes some serious shit all over that place. They eventually call in a strike team in order to rescue the other scientists who are still in the other dimension. The team barely makes it into the bunker before the creature begins killing people and their rescue mission turns into a mission to survive.
- Ain’t nobody got time for that: Not only are they trying not to get killed by this other-worldly monster, but now the entire bunker is about to be wiped off the map. You could easily say that this movie “borrowed” a great many things from Aliens. The whole countdown to death thing isn’t original to Aliens, of course, but it isn’t the other noticeable similarity…
- That gun from that one movie: I’m talking about that giant gun! You know the one that Vasquez and Drake carried around in Aliens? Somehow the makers of Xtro 2 got a hold of a prop that looks remarkably similar. It’s cool too because they treat it like it’s a big deal. The leader of the strike team even wields it with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. If he had been wearing a leather jacket he would have nigh invincible!
- Damn you slow: Besides for the creature’s complete lack of dexterity, the speed at which it moves is probably its biggest flaw. The fact that it kills anyone is incredible. To be honest, slowly sneaking up on its victims is much easier when its small but as it eats and grows to be large it gets harder to move and the going is much slower.
- The doctor is in: The team of scientists call in Dr. Shepherd. He was apparently the only man who survived the events of the first meeting with the creatures which is total bullshit because the character wasn’t even in the first movie! Like I said, I didn’t watch the first movie but I can read a cast overview and I don’t see Jan-Michael Vincent or anyone named Dr. Shepherd anywhere in sight. Lucky for the crew of Xtro 2, Vincent had been preparing to turn over his lab coat for an assault rifle because his presence pretty much single handedly saves the people from being eaten alive.
Why would anyone ever want to go through a shady looking portal into another dimension? I’d rather sit around, eat Cheetos, and find more movies that remind me of Aliens.
- I love it when all the scientists start getting angry at one another and begin shouting random science-sounding words.
- Splitting up is never a good idea.
- The most cringe-worthy moment is when one of the strike team guys tells a joke about the World Trade Center blowing up. Ouch…
The Verdict: Xtro II: The Second Encounter wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be. It certainly doesn’t deserve a 3.1. It is by no means a work of art but it does have a few things going for it. None of the characters are too dumb. You know how there are always really stupid people in movies like these? Well, Xtro II is essentially a bunch of smarty scientists who actually come up with some good ideas on how to survive. They have a few military goons with them too but even they aren’t too annoying. The massive gun looked awesome but I would have preferred the mercenaries to be wearing something a little more military-looking. The movie does take way too long to show the creature or any of its devastation but the same could be said for Alien. Sorry… this movie isn’t handled anything like Alien. Xtro II: The Second Encounter is one of those movies that you should watch late night with a few beers and some nostalgia for Aliens rip-offs. I’ll probably never watch it again but it wasn’t a total waste of time.