Xtro 2: The Second Encounter (1990)

Director: Harry Bromley Davenport

Starring: Jan-Michael Vincent, Paul Koslo, Tara Buckman

Why bother? Furthermore, why not just call the movie Xtros and have done with it? Oh, wait, I know why…

This is not a sequel to Xtro. Yeh, I know it says Xtro 2. I’m also painfully aware that it says this is the second encounter. Nevertheless, the… errr, sequel, has got absolutely rock all to do with the first one. Rock. All. I shall explain this conundrum shortly, but first the blindingly original synopsis…

Scientists have designed a transporter to send foolhardy personnel into a parallel universe. Not entirely sure why but hey, it’s their funeral. They arrive on a planet – this is relayed back via fuzzy helmet-cam footage – and almost immediately they sight a giant bollock in the distance. But there’s a sudden kerfuffle and contact is lost. Don’t worry, a STRIKE TEAM! is sent for, but before they can mount a rescue the signal is re-established and a survivor is beamed back. Wandering gloomily into the mix is Shepherd (Jan-Michael Vincent). This guy’s got previous – he was part of the last mission to Planet X three years ago and so far the only one to return. So perturbed by what he saw there, Shepherd blew up the transporter. Julie (Tara Buckman) decides that this unbalanced individual is the man to call in an emergency. Boss Alex Summerfield (Paul Koslo) is naturally resistant to recall the bloke who destroyed his life’s work but is blithely overruled. He looks like the sanest man on the planet when Shepherd duly attempts to murder the returned female explorer, so Alex has him handcuffed to a pipe. Female explorer duly convulses, rips open and out jumps a chest-burster. Chesty The Rib-Bender grows bigger and starts using the air ducts to move about in. The STRIKE TEAM! – four blokes who I wouldn’t trust to strike a fuckin match – gear up to hunt it down. Instead, it hunts them

You’ve seen Aliens, right? So have the writers of this garbage. And it took four of the buggers to put this cheap knock-off together. I’d back any one of us to scribble something better than the fluffy sphericals they pooped out. Harry Bromley Davenport absolves himself of any blame and drops it on the “reprehensible” Canadian investors behind Xtro 2. Basically, he needed a job and still owned the rights to the Xtro title. He didn’t have any intention of filming a follow-up to the original (which he regards as a “mess”) but the title, by some quirk of contract, had to be used in some fashion. But why then go and add The Second Encounter? Stupid and misleading. And Harry hates Xtro 2, describing his own movie as “rubbish”. He’s particularly scathing about leading man Jan-Michael Vincent. Poor Jan-Michael clearly needed the dough because here he’s not interested; he looks bored shitless throughout. Apparently, he didn’t even bother to learn the script, Harry had to feed each line to him off-camera. In JMV’s defence, I’d say he knows a turd when he reads one.

The STRIKE TEAM! Honestly. When writing a screenplay, ask yourself, will people care about these characters? If your audience is saying things to the screen like: “Die, you twat…” to the good guys, the characters probably need working on. Also, when setting up a STRIKE TEAM! – endeavour to make sure they are reasonably professional as a STRIKE TEAM! and not monumentally inept. Baines (Nicholas Lea) is probably the bloke you want to die the least but only because he’s Hicks-lite. Yeh, the writers love Aliens, they just can’t help themselves; there’s a noise in the ceiling so someone sticks their head in the vent to have a look; cigar-chomping leader McShane (Jano Frandsen) gets himself a smart gun and they all go creeping up and down the same fuckin corridor – but without a motion-tracker sound effect to build tension, just cack music; Julie strips down to her vest and gets tooled up with a big gun, then they pile into the air ducts to effect an escape while the alien tries to batter a way in. On and on it goes…

There isn’t a single set-piece worthy of note. Not a single spark of imagination. Why is the control room so dark? Christ, you’re gonna give the employees eye strain, they’ll all be putting a claim in. They’re stealing a trick from Inseminoid here, bung a few monitors in the middle of the room, darken periphery of set – voila! – shit. I know they couldn’t have had much dollar but that’s no excuse for how bland the environment is. The drab transporter room looks like any typical pop music television studio, circa 1979. I kept expecting Hot Gossip to slink into a very literal, vaguely erotic dance interpretation of I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper.

The monster-reveal sequence; Julie does her ‘Ripley’ thing as the alien advances into a room. This room is featureless, punctuated by triangular columns – which are featureless. Have I mentioned the featurelessness pervading this show? This scene shows off the creature for what it is; a lumpy, immobile, rubber, fish-faced novelty dildo. Anyway, at some other point, McShane gets his fat, papier mache head punched through meaning Baines assumes command and he gets to climb up an elevator shaft for fuckin hours. This all culminates in a whopping great explosion that the creature miraculously survives – it’s an Annie Wilkes moment, it never got out of the cockadoodie elevator! So it’s left to Mogadon Man Shepherd to try and remember his last few lines.

Xtro 2 even pinches the tag line from Forbidden World – nearly – “Part Alien. Part Predator (Human). All Terror (Nightmare)”. If there’s one shining light in all of this it’s the acting juggernaut that is Paul Koslo and the scene where Alex, eyes agape, unexpectedly finds his body covered with discolouration while facing a mirror (he was scratched by the survivor and is slowly mutating). This shock discovery causes him to honk noisily into a wash basin and disappear out of shot. A second later, he pops back up into shot with a handgun rammed into his cakehole. I cried laughing when I saw that.

It’s not worth this much analysis, really. They’ve got nothing. There’s no love in the project. Turn up, read the lines, fuck off. You wouldn’t believe this was from the same director as the original, there’s no stylistic consistency. Atmosphere isn’t endless shots of hazy corridors and spinning fans. Tension isn’t repeated close-ups of someone’s stupid face. In short: this zombie rode the horse (this phrase copyright Xiphos/ Barfy).

And what did Harry go and do? Another one…

Xtro 2 trailer here: http://tinyurl.com/lay6fw

It’s not worth a full movie link; here, have Hot Gossip and I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper instead: http://tinyurl.com/yakksem

Cheers, folk.

ThereWolf, June 2010.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

About ThereWolf

I only come out at night... mostly...

32 responses to “Xtro 2: The Second Encounter (1990)”

  1. ThereWolf says :

    I’m seriously considering that last picture for my gravatar.

  2. xiphos0311 says :

    Wolf, it’s much better that you have watched this stinking pile than me.

    I’m no lawyer but I play one on the internet, why didn’t 20th Century Fox and/or The Cameron sue this movie’s creators for intellectual theft? Sounds like they had a winnable case Xtro 2 is Aliens.

    • ThereWolf says :

      It’s such an abject pile of crap, Xi, I doubt it’d be worth it.

    • Continentalop says :

      It is very hard to sue filmmakers for basing an idea on one of your films, especially if it is released in a market you’ve already played in and your film was a huge hit. It is hard to argue that their film has cost you any money or lost of income.

      I doubt Xtro 2 ever cost Aliens a dollar, which is what you would have to argue.

      • Continentalop says :

        Of course, this is the simple answer.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I would think that the point of suing somebody for intellectual theft by a studio or a writer/director like Cameron isn’t to recover any money it’s to send a message to future thieves that we won’t let you enjoy the fruits of your filthy stolen lucre. We’ll sue you into oblivion and all your stolen money will go to attorney’s fees. You don’t get a big fancy car, no big house and especially no limber 23 year old coke whores which is the worst thing not to get. The only thing the fat hack thieves get is a fat lawyer named Morty with halitosis and a bankruptcy filling.

        I would think that it would pretty easy and relatively cheap for a studio or Cameron to drag something out for years they have access to a phalanx worth of shysters and ambulance chasers on retainer. Some dumb fuck, fly by night, rip off operation has one or two lawyers and they are probably related to the hack who stole the idea in the first and place and graduated from some cheap ass night law school.

      • Continentalop says :

        The problem is that art is understood to be based on someone else’s ideas and influences – nothing is created in a vacuum. So you can’t really claim ownership to certain ideas.

        Also, if you put a film out there you have to understand that it will influence people and they might base something on it.

        I mean, Star Wars is Hidden Fortress, Assault on Precinct 13 was inspired by Rio Bravo, Taxi Driver was inspired by the Searchers, and Aliens itself was inspired by THEM! So it is hard to say any movie is completely original.

        Finally, proving that Xtro ripped of Aliens would be a lot of work, because the courts would be very protective of even a POS movie like Xtro. That is why you have to show that you lost money because otherwise what is the courts incentive to continue with the case and not throw it out?

      • xiphos0311 says :

        It would be real easy to prove that Xtro ripped off Aliens. Off of the top of my head just take that picture Wolf provided above with JMV with the Ma Duce on some sort of holding device and then show a picture of Vasquez and Frost armed out with a worked over M60 on a steady cam rig from Aliens and say to the Jury PAY ME.

      • Continentalop says :

        Yeah, but then it opens a huge can of worms. I mean, QT and Martin Scorsese would be in court every day of the week.

        Plus they can just pull out this and say this is where Cameron ripped off the Exo-armor/Queen fight.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I would be perfectly OK if Cameron got hauled into court by the Smurfs and Ferngully creators. It’s obvious that he ripped off both of those for that cartoon he made last year.

      • lordbronco says :

        Good Lord! Bart versus the Dinosaurus–I’m speechless.

        Just like Bart and his woman we she says “I love you”…

        probably thinking to himself “I’m fighting Dinosaurus right now”.

        And then bart says, “Get the fuck off the treads of my caterpillar tractor, you dizzy bitch-it’s wrasslin’ time”

        Oh yeah, and the Feydor defeat-pretty freaking epic.

        maybe Now we will get Lesnar versus Feydor…

      • ThereWolf says :

        If Cameron has seen Xtro 2 – I’ve a feeling he may have done, though I prefer to believe that I am the only person on the planet to have seen Xtro 2 and that’s how it should stay – I think he’d just laugh at it. Plus it’d give the bloody thing more attention than it deserves.

        There’s just enough different – like the parallel jump at the beginning (which I’ve just realised pre-empts Stargate), the whole ‘Die Hard’ elevator shaft bit (which is just the air duct scene turned vertical and the amazing mutating Paul Koslo. So, they’d just admit bits and pieces and just say hey, doesn’t everybody steal stuff, putting forth examples as Conti did with Dino.

        I’m still flabbergasted that Eragon got made. It’s Star Wars. With dragons. Who at the studio didn’t notice that? I’m still waiting for The Eragon Strikes Back…

        Oh, Xi, that’s not JMV with the BFG – it’s Jano Frandsen. But JMV does get a hold of it for the spectacular finale. And he still looks bored…

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Conti Pops–that was BRILLIANT!! Cameron ripped off Dinosaurus!! Shit! Death by Steam Shovel. I love it. Where did you get this-?

      • xiphos0311 says :

        That’s not JMV? Looks like him in profile. Oh well still He’s sporting the M2(only not really those things weigh about 80 pounds(38KG) unloaded. With an attached mag box and tri-pod it’s about 130 pounds(57 or 58Kg I think) on a carrier that looks like it wouldn’t actually be able to carry that weight.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        You know what I take some of that back about the carrying device. I looked at the picture again and noticed the under lift arm. I missed that the first time. All I saw was the crossed padded band on not JMV chest.

  3. MORBIUS says :

    Wassail….Wolf.

    Chin up mate, only one more Xtro to go.

    Director Harry Bromley Davenport has stated that out of all three Xtro movies he has made, Xtro 3 is easily his favorite.

    So he’s got that going for him….

    • ThereWolf says :

      Hey, Morbius.

      Yeh, I have noted that Bromley Davenport comment, it’s already in the first draft of the review. If it’s his favourite Xtro, that’s fine by me.

      Doesn’t mean it’s any good. And it’s not.

      And he’s threatening to do an Xtro 4…

  4. xiphos0311 says :

    Continentalop,

    DOWNNNnnnnnnn goes Fedorrrrrrrr!

    10 year unbeaten streak POOF!

    • Continentalop says :

      I know Xi. I know.

      I bet Dana White is happy as Don Murphy at a buffet.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        The Fedor loss made Dana white happy, why? I would think that would be a loss of a selling point with Fedor tapping out like he did in under a minute in the first round. This Werdum guy doesn’t seem that big of a name but he does have victories over Fedor and Aleksander Emelianenko so I guess he’s pretty good.

      • Continentalop says :

        Remeber Xi, Fedor doesn’t fight in the UFC. He fights for another promotion – Strikefore and M-1 Global. He was the biggest fighter not part of the UFC and with his loss Dana can claim there is no reason to watch anything other than UFC. He has just loss a serious challenge to UFCs monopoly on MMA.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        I did not know that. I thought they were all owned by UFC

      • Continentalop says :

        No, but a lot of people think that. Dana White and Zuffa has done a good job of making UFC synonymous with MMA.

        In many ways I found today to be a very sad day for MMA and the fighters.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Are you sad becasue Fedor’s loss will strengthen Dana whites death grip on MMA?

      • lordbronco says :

        Xi-As I understand it-Fedor has refused to fight in a Dana White match or the UFC after attempting to negotiate reasonable terms of recompense not only for himself, but for his team fighters that he is training.

        White was apparently a cheapskate-so fedor told him to go fuck himself and created his own league-named now StrikeForce.

        Their fights are relatively unpromoted on the best paying media markets-which would be America.

        So, White’s pulling a Jim McMahon act-though it has to be said that he did have the original idea.

        Fedor is attempting to found a MMA federation founded by a fighter, not some MBA waving corporate type.

        Conti-correct me if I’m getting this wrong.

  5. Jarv says :

    Funny review. This sounds terrible

  6. Tom_Bando says :

    Just for Conti Pops–King Dinosaur.

  7. M. Blitz says :

    Wolf, that movie sounds absolutely inept. Unlike your quality review, which serves to highlight the shittiness of the movie even more in comparison.

    I’ll write you at some point this weekend. My work schedule suddenly went off the deep end, so’s that I get up at 3:30 am and get home a little before 8pm. Finally I have some time….my apologies. 🙂

    • ThereWolf says :

      Cheers, Blitz.

      Not a problem. My e-mails have a tendency to disappear into wormholes and I was beginning to wonder…!

      Think I could’ve done better with the review. Reading it back, it’s like the cackiness of the movie seeped into my approach to doing the review. My focus drifted…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: