Monsters: Dark Continent

Starring: Johnny Harris, Sam Keeley, Joe Dempsie
Directed By: Tom Green

I didn’t love the first Monsters. I thought it was a pretty cool gimmick. It was a low-budget monster flick that ended up surprising with better than expected visual effects. The story wasn’t great. However, it launched the career of Gareth Edwards, who went on to direct the terribly boring Godzilla. Overhyped talent. For some reason, we’ve decided to make a sequel. Well, sort of.

Is the Monsters brand so strong that slapping “Monsters” in front of it bring in viewers? Because this movie has very little to do with the first film. Had they just called this movie Dark Continent, and it been the same film, I doubt anyone would have accused this film of being a sequel to Monsters. Its for that reason that the film largely fails. It brands itself as a Monsters movie, and wholeheartedly fails on all cylinders. The monsters become a background set piece against what is some kind of Black Hawk Down wannabe script. As a sequel, you can’t keep the monsters in the background.

So, as a war film… it almost kinda-sorta works. It just has so much damn exposition, and this whole “brotherhood set up”, that it abandons halfway through the film. Spoiler alert, but most of the main cast dies. We’re left with only two remaining characters, and there really isn’t a lot of brotherhood between them. So what the fuck was the first hour of the film about? Conviction, dammit. Have some.

I’m not saying “don’t surprise me”, but you can’t spend an hour on “brotherhood” exposition, and bullshit about “we grew up together”, only to lose the majority of the brotherhood in the first big fight. Technically, it dwindles down over the span of probably 15 minutes, but at the end of the fight, we’re basically left with two guys who don’t really get along but need each other to survive. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pick two guys who “grew up together” and are part of the brotherhood? Leaning on each other to survive?

As a war film, it doesn’t really work. As a Monsters film, it really isn’t. So where does that leave us? With a below average war film? Is there a place out there for below average war films with kinda/sorta sci-fi subplots?

FINAL GRADE: D+

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