Monday, July 4, 2016

[Review] Independence Day: Resurgence

In case there hasn't been enough sequels this summer, here's another one. I shouldn't complain too much though, because some of those sequels have been really good (The Conjuring 2, Finding Dory). Unfortunately, I can't say the same about Independence Day: Resurgence.

ID4 2 arrives 20 years (in real-time and in movie-time) after its predecessor. The sky is now filled with more drones than birds. Right away, the film addresses Will Smith's absence and his character's apparent death with a half-hearted "He was a great man." Steven Hiller's son (played by Jessie Usher) fills in as a high-ranking pilot, along with Liam Hemsworth (the boring Hemsworth brother), and Maika Monroe (It Follows). Thankfully, key players like Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman return, and they haven't missed a beat. But these guys still aren't enough to save this humdrum clunker.

When the alien craft sets up shop above earth, several characters make sure to let us know that it's "definitely bigger than the last one." All space breaks loose in a convoluted mess of turbulent and disorderly action sequences. The chaos is so constant that the film practically implodes upon itself, becoming a giant one-dimensional load of stuff flying around and exploding. The crowd of underdeveloped new characters don't help matters either, so it's hard to feel any sense of high stakes peril when you can't zero in on anything. And the film is neither fun nor monumental enough to be as memorable as Independence Day. It's kind of just a big dark cloud of "meh."

Resurgence is at its best when it hovers on sarcastic humor and playful callbacks to the first one (if you took a shot every time someone brought up 1996, you'd be out before the midway point). However, such a reliance on past references also reveals the current film's weaknesses and generic falters. It's a colossal scale CGI-fest, but nothing here rivals any of the more successful big spectacle blockbusters in recent years, or even alternative invasion flicks like Gareth Edwards' Monsters or the sensational District 9. And yes, of course there's the shoehorned subplot regarding a school bus full of kids caught in the destructive mayhem (How many times have we seen that?).

All in all, Independence Day: Resurgence is frankly passed its glory days.

( 5.5/10 )

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  1. Your review seems to confirm what others have said - that this is mediocre at best. For me the trailers looked pretty terrible so I have avoided this thing. Maybe when it hit blu-ray.

  2. Nailed it. My expectations were so low that when it turned out to be outright pedestrian I almost praised it.