Sunday, February 12

XTRO II: The Second Encounter (1993) - Tokuma Communications Co. Japan VHS

This is a great example of a severely lacking Aliens rip-off, even by Aliens rip-off standards, made to appear vastly more exciting by cover art. The director of 1983's Xtro, Harry Bromley Davenport, returns with this sequel apparently only in order to maintain the franchise rights and delivers near-comatose killer-alien-in-locked-down-research-facility sci-fi action garbage starring a barely audible Jan-Michael Vincent. My expectations were appropriately in check being at about the level of the somewhat similar Shocking Dark (see here) master crafted by Bruno Mattei the previous year.

With all prospects of being taken seriously jettisoned like the Queen Alien, there's a sore lack of stupid fun in Xtro II. Virtually zero emotion or suspense register as people speak while things happen around them. I mean, the least the cast could do is wink at the camera in the face of chokingly bad lines and cardboard sets. Yet no, the plot progresses in fits-and-starts while disinterested editing chops shots and scenes within inches of their lives. The effect is jarring and gives the impression much material was cut away for pacing (and the benefit of the viewer). The action is sloppy to the point characters can be seen firing machine guns full bore without the expected accompanying sound. Dialogue is also sometimes hard to heard if an actor even slightly tilts his head downward. Finally, it's better that we don't mention how the Xtro is burnt to a corn flake and 'xploded with a falling elevator of C4 only to be ultimately blasted into paper-mache by some measly bullets and a grenade. Well, at least this cover is pretty damn cool...

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