XTRO 2MOVIE REVIEW
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(MICHAEL MADSEN & JOHN SAVAGE).
Harry Bromley Davenport was back in the driver's seat - but only as a director - for XTRO 2.
XTRO 2 was written by a lot of people, produced by a lot of people, funded by a lot of groups, and the entire thing reeks of an assembly line movie created and sold by bean counters. Nothing visionary is happening here, it's all cut and paste Scifi tropes of the time by other, better movies, piss-poorly grafted onto this one.
The real leader of XTRO 2 was Lloyd Simandl (LETHAL TARGET). A guy who started off really low and slid into diminishing returns forever after.
Anywho, after an introductory helicopter ride, we watch two guys, a government wonk and a scientist, Dr. Alex Summerfield (Paul Koslo: THE OMEGA MAN, THE DROWNING POOL, ROBOT JOX, SOLAR CRISIS), bitch at each other to pass for character development. Alex and the government wonk have an instant dislike for each other.
Alex, along with another scientist, Dr. Julie Casserly (Tara Buckman: ROLLERCOASTER, SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT), leads a team of scientists and they are all working on the: Tah-Dah! Nexus Project!
Well WTF is that? No idea, but government wonk wants to shut the project down. Especially after what happened in Texas.
What happened in Texas?
You know, that... thing.
Meanwhile in the research(?) lab -
Three people are in the Nexus thingamajig: Marshall (Tracy Westerholm), Dawson (Michael Metcalfe: POSSESSION, EMPIRE OF ASH III, FLESH GORDON MEETS THE COSMIC CHEERLEADERS), and Hoffman (Thom Schioler: EMPIRE OF ASH, BLACK ICE). They seem to be cool with being there.
Meanwhile as a computer voice offers warnings and yapping techno-babble, the Nexus machine does its thing.
The controls are obvious sound mixing boards and the Nexus apparently sent the three human lab rats ...er... explorers ... to another world in a parallel universe.
Everything goes to hell again.
So Alex and Julie have a pissing match in front of the wonk. Apparently, Julie has a dislike for Alex, ever since he took the project away from Dr. Ron Shepherd (Jan-Michael Vincent: THE MECHANIC, SHADOW OF THE HAWK, DAMNATION ALLEY, THE RETURN, DEMONSTONE, ALIENATOR, HAUNTING FEAR, RAW NERVE, ABDUCTED II, ICE CREAM MAN).
Alex wants to send in a rescue strike team: Soldiers, guns, ammo!
Julie wants her ex-lover Shepherd, back to solve the problem: After all, he created Nexus.
Alex doesn't want that because, after all, he stole the project from Shepherd fair and square. True, a lot of people have died under Alex and a lot of money has been wasted and everything has gone to hell since Alex took over, but that's no reason to backtrack!
Long story short, Julie gets Shepherd back on the project. Meanwhile, Alex is back at the secret lab briefing the cigar chomping Colonel McShane (Jano Frandsen) of the strike team.
Alex and the Colonel have an instant dislike for each other.
Shepherd and Alex meet up and of course Shepherd doesn't like Alex: seems nobody does.
Alex is flying high on empty ego and is already disobeying his orders from the government. Alex oddly seems more intent on having total control over the project, even if that destroys the project and costs lives, than sharing the credit with anyone else (I don't want anyone stealing credit for my failures!).
Inexplicably, his whole team seems to hate him but willingly follows his orders: even when that means they are disobeying the company that pays them AND the government that funds them and they'll be fired - if they're lucky - and killed - if they aren't.
No explanation is given for their obedience to a guy who is no longer in charge of them.
Another romp in the Nexus machine and only one explorer, Marshall, comes back. It seems Alex can't ever run the damn Nexus without everything going to hell. And when it does, Alex totally loses his shit and someone else has to take over while he stands there in stunned silence.
But even though Alex is not supposed to be in charge, his whole team - who hate him - follow his orders over the orders of people who actually ARE in charge.
Why is the team disobeying their bosses - who they like and who pay them - to follow Alex - who they hate and who doesn't pay them - and who gets them killed?
And why is Alex, who has been relieved of command, allowed on the base anymore, allowed in the control room anymore, let alone allowed to send more people through the Nexus machine?
Shepherd strongly advises the colonel not to go through the parallel dimensions.
The Colonel asks why, as he doesn't want to risk his people on an unknown situation. As Shepherd prepares to make a long and drawn out speech, Alex says they don't have time for this, let's go, and the Colonel - so worried about his own life and the lives of his crew - hops in the Nexus under the orders of the dangerously incompetent boob who Isn't In Charge of Anything.
Marshall seems to have left her mind back in the other universe and Alex nearly kills her for it.
They have another go with the Nexus and it all goes to hell, as usual.
Alex is useless in every single emergency that happens, as usual. And all the emergencies happen whenever Alex has them turn on the Nexus, as usual.
Shepherd is utterly worthless. He knows... something ...and he won't say what. He just lets people die while he cringes and mopes. But he won't tell anyone why they shouldn't go through the Nexus to save those people lost in the Nexus.
WT freaking F, man?
One of Colonel McShane's super soldiers, Baines (Nicholas Lea: THE X-FILES [TV], KYLE XY [TV], V [TV]), arrives, meets Alex and takes an instant dislike to the clod. So what else is new?
By this stage, every single thing that has gone wrong is Alex's fault, he's been relieved of command, he has no business there, everybody hates him, and yet no one challenges his authority (which he doesn't have anyway and that is made abundantly clear, Over and Over) enough to take his sorry ass off the project - even while he is jeopardizing their lives. No, they just bitch at him or maybe throw a punch.
Maybe Alex has some kind of otherworldy parallel universe Mind Control thing going on and... nope. Just ridiculously shitty writing: the only kind that Producer Lloyd Simandl ever knew how to buy.
As if things couldn't possibly get any worse, out comes the badly imitated H.R. Giger Alien monster* rip-off. Because you know, the movie just wasn't bad enough without a half-assed looking rubber suit varmint with a goofy overbite (no, seriously).
Jan-Michael Vincent gave this movie the kind of acting it deserved. Or maybe he was still in the throes of his alcoholic / drug abuse period. In any case, he seems to be sleeping through all of his scenes to the point where I expected him to start mumbling through a pitch for Paul Mason wine.
Truthfully, XTRO 2: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER could probably be edited down to a really decent 45 minute movie, suitable for a SciFi cable show. But at twice that long, there is a yawn-inducing amount of lag stitched through every scene that could have been, but was never quite, good.
At least composers Braun Farnon and Robert Smart gave it their all for the soundtrack. The music is sharp! But the movie never rose to that level and a soundtrack alone couldn't save this mess.
One Shriek Girl.
*By the way, you know the Alien's acid blood? Unless you are in a spaceship in the vacuum of space, or in a contained environment on a planet that doesn't have oxygen, the alien's acid blood doesn't mean jack shit. It can helplessly bleed on the ground all it wants, that son of a bitch is going down!
There is no reason not to kill it and every reason to put the fucker out of its misery. The "Alien" on earth won't last two minutes up against a redneck with a rifle or a honey with a handgun.
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