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Monsters: Dark Continent


Stars: Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Joe Dempsie, Kyle Soller, Nicholas Pinnock, Parker Sawyers, Philip Arditti

Director: Tom Green

2010’s low-budget high-impact science fiction movie Monsters became a surprise success, propelling writer-director Gareth Edwards to Hollywood and the Godzilla reboot.

Here Edwards (along with Monsters star Scoot McNairy) is credited as executive director. He should be regretting this.

This apparent ‘sequel’ has little to recommend it.

Yes, the multi-tentacled aliens return, but only as supporting characters to what emerges as a routine war movie where genre clichés fly more often than bullets.

Director (and co-writer with Jay Basu) Green kicks off with a bunch of less than interesting characters who, understandably unhappy with life on the wrong side of the tracks in Detroit, enlist in the Army and end up in an unspecified Middle Eastern US Operations base where monsters thresh around in the background to little dramatic effect.

(I assume that no one involved in creating the film realised the Dark Continent is actually Africa and not the Middle East)

There, tough-as-old-boots and utterly familiar sergeant Johnny Harris gives the greenhorns a hard time readying them for action.

Their mission is simple – to put an end to insurgent action in the bleak deserts, and only kill the (impressively created) monsters when feasible…

The special effects-created creatures do impress, notably in a bizarre sequence in which a dog fights a miniature monster on the streets, but movie magic is not enough to propel a less-than-riveting story.

Johnny “I never wanted to be a soldier. What else to do?” Harris and the rest of the cast deliver their lines in commendable-enough American accents.

On the difficult-to-find credit side, Jordan gives a convincing performance as the unnamed Middle Eastern country (particularly if you recall Kubrick’s ludicrous London-based locations for his version of Vietnam in Full Metal Jacket).

Alan Frank

UK 2015. UK Distributor: Vertigo Films. Colour.
123 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 02 May 2015