Friday, March 13, 2015

Monsters: Dark Continent Review

Monsters: Dark Continent Review
Back in 2010, an indie, science fiction film called "Monsters" was released. It is significant because it began the career of Gareth Evans, who went on to relaunch "Godzilla" in a very big way. The movie itself? It's okay. I like some of the images in the film. I like some of the energy of the film. Overall, it goes out of its way to be too much. It wants to be a grounded, gritty alien invasion, and at the same time it wants be a serious film about survival. It is a movie that tows the line between fun sci/fi and dark realism and one never satisfies the other. If there was a deeper meaning to what I was seeing, I certainly never found it.

Now, we all will receive "Monsters: Dark Continent" a sequel to the 2010 film. Instead of Gareth Evans, we get Tom Green (no not THAT Tom Green) in the director's and writers chair. For this sequel, most story fragments were kept under wraps, which only symbolized that they had something cooking that was going to be tremendous. Sadly, "Monsters: Dark Continent" is just "Monsters" all over again. It is a movie that teases you with one story in the trailer, then tells a completely different story in film form. The sad part is that the movie that we get is actually quite boring, adventure-less, and tries to make a point about something it knows nothing about.

I wish I could remember the names the of the characters the actors play, but this movie was so painfully memory-less that names completely skip my mind. I can tell you that Johnny Harris, Sam Keely, Joe Demspie and Jesse Nagy all play United States Marines deployed to the Middle East to help stop the wave of "Monsters," massive alien creatures that have been ravaging the Earth since the first film. The war with these creatures are starting to take its toll, as we fight in the Middle East, a new insurgency of Muslims also begins to attack American soldiers due to all the collateral damage our army is stacking up in the war against the Monsters. It is good to know that in a future war against an alien enemy, the humans would not stand together and form one massive human army. Here, the Muslims insurgence are just as evil and cruel as the ISIS we are fighting currently.

There is little to no Monster action in the movie. All "Monsters: Dark Continent" adds up to is a rescue mission that goes disastrously wrong, as the soldiers begin to feel the shocks of war and as the insurgents begin to catch up with them. We only see the Monsters in faint glimpses, there is no action involving them. This is never an aliens vs. humans movie, this is a U.S. versus radical Islam movie with aliens as window dressing. I wonder to myself why Tom Green even put the aliens in this at all since a movie about our current relationship with the Middle Eastern region is what he truly cared about. Too bad that he never had a firm grasp of the climate in that region nor did he have anything significant, enlightening or important to say about what is going on. This is a movie that pretends to go with the motions for the sake of it. We see political imagery just for the sake of political imagery with message hidden underneath. If Green wanted to make a comment about our current situation in the Middle East, he could have done so and made effective use of the aliens taking over in this movie. He could easily used the Monsters as a metaphor for whatever point he wanted to make. But he seemed more obsessed by making shocking imagery that he thought would stir the audience into a political frenzy, the fact is that he failed at doing so.

The actors do what they can with what material they have. But it really seems like Green showed his actors a copy of "Black Hawk Down" and told them to impersonate it. There is nothing about the war scenes in this movie that stand out, that shows us something different. The close quarters combat and urban warfare is basically what you would expect to see. There is no actor that particularly stands out, as this is just another shoot and yell orders type movie. The story is also not strong enough to stand on such abysmal characters and performances.

If you saw this trailer and expected something epic, this movie is not for you. If you enjoyed the first film, as many people did, and thought this sequel would be even more badass, then this movie is not for you. This is an emotionally bankrupt movie. It handles ideals that it does not understand and sends a message that makes zero sense. I very rarely use this word to describe a movie, but "Monsters: Dark Continent" is just a weird movie. And not in a good way.


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