Director: Tom Green
Cast: Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Joe Dempsie, Kyle Soller, Sofia Boutella
Runtime: 1 hr 59 mins
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scenes & Coarse Language)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 23 April 2015
Synopsis: Ten years on from the events of Monsters, and the 'Infected Zones' have now spread worldwide. In the Middle East a new insurgency has begun. At the same time there has also been a proliferation of Monsters in that region. The Army decide to draft in more numbers to help deal with this insurgency. We follow four fresh new recruits from Detroit as they all excitedly look forward to performing what they were trained to do.
Original helmer Gareth Edwards have moved on to greener pastures after his miniscule budget sci-fi thriller Monsters made its debut in 2011. With Godzilla well-received and a Star Wars spin-off in the pipeline, no wonder Edwards has no free time for the sequel.
Instead of a photojournalist and a tourist making their way to the US-Mexican border, we have a small platoon of American soldiers battling insurgents in an unnamed Middle East country. The story is set a decade after the alien invasion. Human beings on the whole seem to be quite comfortable co-existing with the extra-terrestrials. The monsters are shown lumbering in the background looking innocently enough, often curious and occasionally clumsily crashing into buildings.
To answer the elephant in the room, so what’s our platoon of men got to do with the creatures? As a matter of fact, “pretty nothing much happens” liked our reviewer mentioned in his original Monsters review. Like it or not, Monsters: Dark Continent faithfully replicate this approach despite a higher budget this time round.
Newly assigned on tour, Parkes (Sam Keeley) and his two buddies, Maguire (Joe Dempsie) and Williams (Parker Sawyers) under hot-tempered Sgt Fratner (Johnny Harris) are sent to extract a group of soldiers. But their mission is short-lived when insurgents ambush their convoy along the way. The narrative and treatment is what you expect from a generic war-related Hollywood flick not to mention the various stock characters are recycled from far superior The Hurt Locker and Black Hawk Down.
What causes a war veteran liked Fratner to suffer from PTSD in the middle of a failed mission? And why are Parkes and Fratner lumbering around with locals for an hour or so? What is the plot trying to convey after two hours of running time? Questions, questions and more questions arise. If there’s a deeper reason or some subtle metaphors, you might not exactly find them here. Okay maybe the U.S. soldiers are the real monsters and intruders in the end. That’s the only answer I can clobber.
Yet, the visual and sound effects are perfectly accomplished. A few key, close-ups featuring the tentacle monsters are so photo-realistic that you wish you could see more of them. There’s one early scene depicting a small baby creature fighting a dog and subsequently, one mid-size alien running alongside the army convoy that speaks of promising things that never materialized.
Monsters: Dark Continent is more in line with military theme movie than a monster movie. It’s almost like someone accidentally slapped the wrong name on the movie poster. If you hate the pretentious Monsters, you will not find yourself in love with this. Maybe Battle: Los Angeles is a better choice if you are gear up for alien vs soldier movie night. On the other hand, Director Tom Green has submitted a full-length demo reel for Hollywood with this. Mark his name down he might be due for some big project in the future.
(Incredibly flawed and inconsequential. It’s a wasted effort in filmmaking)
Review by Linus Tee