The world is littered with sequels that didn’t quite hit the mark. “Anchorman 2” and “Zoolander 2” are both sequels to beloved comedies which failed to come close to their originals; it’s a much more common trend down at the lower end of things, though, where if a genre movie makes a bit of money, you know there’ll be at least one sequel (and occasionally, as many as 15). We’ve covered many sci-fi and horror franchises, and they’re lousy with utterly pointless part 2s, and sadly so it is with “Alien Avengers”.
The name confusion indicates that someone had no idea how to market either of these movies. The first, listed as “Alien Avengers”, is much better known as “Welcome To Planet Earth”; and this, allegedly called “Alien Avengers 2” (although good luck finding it anywhere under that title) is listed as both “Aliens Among Us” and “Welcome To Planet Earth 2”. I miss the good old days of companies giving releases a bunch of different titles …actually, I don’t. I’m sick and tired of every trick they use to bleed more money from people like us.
“AA 2” is a movie where you have to ignore huge logic holes pretty much from the off in order to enjoy it. As we’re reintroduced to our central loving alien couple, Charlie and Rhonda, there’s a little difference – Rhonda is now played by early MTV celeb Julie Brown. They make a joke about how Charlie “F’ed her head off”, and how he likes the new head just fine – a slight problem being, they’re in prison, and someone’s going to notice when one of the inmates completely changes appearance. Not in this movie! So, they’re released early – for multiple brutal murders, remember – due to overcrowding, and as they’re wandering the streets, they notice a refrigerated truck from a place called Justice, AZ. Liking the sound of the place, they stow away on the truck and head off for wacky adventures.
The other half of the story is Daphne and Joseph, living on Daphne’s home planet. All we see is their home, straight from the 1950s, with Daphne playing the part of the perfect housewife – except for the extraordinary amount of sex they have. Joseph is bored of the routine and wants to go home, and we…wonder why not only Daphne but the other aliens they meet all look like humans, when we know their skin is just a covering over something weird and blue. So, when an embargo on visiting Earth is lifted, they go back to rescue her parents, which is a reasonable way to start a movie.
Their spaceship is once again designed like an old fashioned car, and when they get back, for some reason, they park round the corner from their home, in a dark alley. This is because they couldn’t film on near the house from part 1 anymore (it’s never in shot) so naturally when they go back to their car it’s been broken into and stripped of its important parts. I think it’s at this point, fairly early into the movie, when I said to no-one “they probably ought to have looked after their one way home a bit better”, that I appreciated this was almost certainly not going to be as good as its predecessor.
Handwaved away is the way Daphne was able to rescue a huge, un-stolen tracking device from the car, and uses this to figure out her parents have gone to Arizona. So, off they go, and they don’t actually fully meet up til the very last scene of the movie. I know why this happens – it’s cheaper to film one group, send them home and then film the other group, rather than having the entire cast on set the entire time – but it’s still a pain. They get a ride from a family in an RV (which handily gives them a chance to have a sex scene, thus providing this movie with its requisite amount of exposed boobs) and their entire storyline is constant delays and setbacks, until Daphne is kidnapped by some shady Government organisation near the end. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this entire half of the story is the first ever screen appearance by future “Saturday Night Live” and movie star Jason Sudeikis, as the German exchange student “son” of the couple driving the RV. He’s George Wendt’s nephew, which may well be why he got the gig.
Charlie and Rhonda wind up in Justice, after killing the driver of the van (turns out he was a bad lad) but their entire storyline is far weaker and less crazy than in part 1. They barely kill anyone, deciding “punishment must fit the crime” is the best way to go – so they tie a speeding driver to the front of their car and drive him round at crazy speeds, for example. They become co-sheriffs of Justice, getting involved in some exceptionally tedious story about some guy wanting to buy up the town and turn it into a resort.
So, most of the cast is the same, and the writer is the same. Perhaps the reason this turned out flat and boring, with comedy that tried way too hard, is down to the director? Director of part 1 Lev Spiro has gone on to a successful career directing TV comedy, whereas part 2’s Dave Payne has gone on to a couple of terrible-sounding horror movies and several episodes of the staggeringly annoying “Fred” TV show. It’s some evidence, but not enough…it just seems like nobody really wanted to do a sequel. They changed the location, removed the motivation of the central characters and took away all the decent jokes (there’s one hilarious homoerotic bar fight, but otherwise slim pickings).
It’s not just the script that substitutes wacky slapstick for genuinely funny acting and situations, though. It’s the slapdash nature of it all. Perhaps the best example is how ill Daphne becomes on Earth after a few days, complaining about the weakness of the sun (the aliens can now partially recharge themselves by standing pressed up against a microwave). Okay, I can accept that, even if the first movie doesn’t mention it at all, but – why is she so badly affected when her parents have made it at least a year locked up in an Earth prison, in a non-sunlit cell for most of their days, and feel fine? Did no-one involved with the movie consider this? Anastasia Sakelaris must have annoyed someone, because her part is way down from part 1, and she’s unable to show much of her great comic acting; Christopher M Brown only got duller in the meantime, sadly.
Considering how much I enjoyed the first one, this is such a huge disappointment. Wendt has great chemistry with his co-stars in both movies, but while he had a great script and fun characters to bounce off, all he’s got here is lame jokes and a bunch of Wild West stereotypes.
Rating: thumbs down