Xtro 2: The Second Encounter (1990)

At least the box is honest

At least the box is honest

The thing about sequels is, even if the story doesn’t follow from one to the other, it’s nice to have some sort of continuity. Whether it’s a lead actor (“Bloodfist”, “Project: Shadowchaser”), a villain (“Predator”) or just an activity (“No Retreat , No Surrender”, “Bring It On”), almost all sequels will have some thread connecting them. As I’m sure you’ve already guessed by the way I’ve constructed this paragraph, “Xtro 2” is not any old sequel.

Trying to figure out just why the not exactly beloved “Xtro” got a part 2 is one of the very few entertaining things to do while watching this – and let’s just get it out of the way. It’s such an enormous rip-off of “Aliens” that I’m genuinely amazed James Cameron and his people didn’t sue director Harry Bromley Davenport – an additional problem being that the first movie is more similar in tone to a low-budget “Hellraiser”, meaning the two have literally nothing in common but a name. Researching, it seems Davenport only made “Xtro 2” because he retained the rights to that name, but not the story, and needed the money.

XTRO

Someone else who probably needed the money was star Jan Michael Vincent, formerly of “Airwolf” – we first see him in a cabin in the woods after retiring from his high-powered Government job, just in case you didn’t make the connection yourself. Now, Vincent has been an alcoholic and junkie since at least the early 80s, and is such a total mess he’s not acted for fifteen years; and it’s fairly safe to say this was filmed during a rough time for him. He looks awful and according to Davenport, refused to learn his lines and seemed not to care about acting at all (he had to feed Vincent most of his lines from just off camera). I’d normally try and be more sympathetic to Mr. Vincent but he seems to have had a habit of getting drunk and driving his car, and he’s extremely fortunate to have not killed anyone else.

I still haven’t mentioned this damn movie, have I? Scientists have figured out a way to beam people into alternate dimensions. Vincent is the only person to have done it and come back, and when they lose a team of three scientists, he’s brought out of retirement to assist with the rescue preparation. Evil Dr Summerfield doesn’t like Vincent, though, so he brings in a four-person “strike force” to go to the other dimension and bust some alien ass; before they get the chance to set off, one of the scientists is discovered in the other dimension and beamed back, but wouldn’t you just know it, he’s carrying something back in his chest cavity!

xtro2_4

That’s all the recap you’re getting, Go watch “Alien” and “Aliens” if you want to see the same plot done several thousand times better. The beats are the same, the ideas are the same, some of the props appear to be the same, but “Aliens” didn’t have a drunk asshole who couldn’t be bothered to learn his lines in the lead role. I’ve been trying to think of something nice to say about it, but there’s really nothing. Sorry! Well, there’s a bunch of perfectly serviceable supporting roles, but that’s almost the definition of damning with faint praise.

Perhaps the only thing of any worth to be gained from this was finding the 17 minute “Xtro Xposed”, an interview with Davenport, which is one of the most honest interviews with someone in the movie business I’ve ever seen. On the first movie: “there’s nothing to it at all. It’s rubbish”. “Everything about this film is dreadful”. And referring to this one: “it truly is a piece of garbage”. He’s kind to people who deserve it – Robert Shaye of New Line, Maryam D’Abo and Bernice Stegers from the first movie; but brutally honest about everyone else, including himself. I wish more people would do interviews like this – because you know he’s not on his own in his opinion of the movie business.

xtro2_6

Seriously, why are you still reading this? Nothing good can come of watching “Xtro 2”. Avoid at all costs.

Rating: thumbs down

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One thought on “Xtro 2: The Second Encounter (1990)

  1. Pingback: The ISCFC vs. Sci-Fi and Fantasy franchises |

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