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Independence Day: Resurgence (3D)


Stars: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Jessie T Usher, Travis Tope, Judd Hirsch, Charlotte Gainsbourg, William Fichtner, Angelababy, Nicolas Wright, Deobia Oparei, Joey King, John Storey, Brent Spiner, Sela Ward, Vivica A Fox, Chin Han, Robert Loggia

Director: Roland Emmerich

It has taken two decades for the antagonistic aliens first encountered in Independence Day to boldly return and set out to reboot the elimination of Mankind they first attempted back in 1996.

So, almost inevitably, the sequel strikes back, once more under the captainship of director (and co-writer, with Dean Devlin) Roland Emmerich who, having taken two decades to get around to re-launching his 20th century hit, sensibly serves up more of the same – one damn thing after another - only bigger, louder and in effective 3D to meet 21st century audience expectations.

Returning star Jeff Goldblum, who now finds himself in Darkest Africa where the only alien ship that landed in 1996 is now under the ‘stewardship’ of local African warlord Deobia Oparei (greeted, American-style, by Goldblum with "Hoody Doody!”), neatly sums up the basic storyline with “Oh my God, it’s the same pattern!”

Which basically means if you’re seeking a speedily served mishmash of vigorous action and impressively delivered special effects and not really concerned to savour smart dialogue or key and enthusiastic actors with little depth but enough sheer enthusiasm to carry the story along from one eye-boggling explosion of Oscar-worthy movie magic, then Resurgence delivers.

Genre clichés abound in the man-vs-extraterrestrials mayhem, with logic abandoned for action and basic performance honed to ensure the actors keep straight faces in the face of their lines and the characters they have been given.

Mind you, the sci-fi saga anticipates a female US President (Sela Ward) and goes Continental with Charlotte Gainsbourg keeping a commendably straight face (along with the rest of the cast when faced with their work) playing a scientist with little to do except ensure a French audience for the picture.

Other returnees from the first film include Judd Hirsch as Goldblum’s father, here saving a busload of school kids from alien extinction, zany scientist Brent Spiner, appearing to be auditioning for a Blackpool pantomime by going so far over the top when he emerges (on screen, that is) from a 20-year-long coma that I half expected him to rise into space to personally take on the attacking alien spaceships, along with Bill Pullman in a dual role – with beard and clean-shaven..

Liam Hemsworth turns up as a hunky lunar space pilot while Jessie T Usher (playing the son of missing original star Will Smith) is on hand to join Hemsworth as romantic rival and brave space warrior.

Acting, however, takes third or even fourth place to more than enough surging and vividly-staged action, soaring spacecraft, destruction of our planet (Tower Bridge gets a brief guest role when the aliens destroy London) and stunning special effects to give you a legal high that is unlikely to affect you for long after the film finally ends.

It’s not short (almost 2 hours) but if you’re willing to go along with the plentiful action/visual rush on offer (Markus Förderer’s 3D cinematography is particularly impressive) and happy to attenuate your intellectual expectations, then Resurgence’s action does deliver a surprisingly refreshing adrenaline surge.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour.
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 23 Jun 2016