Second Arrival, The
Reviewed by Steve Crow
Rating: 6 Beans
missed the first Arrival movie. Which sounds like a shame. From the reviews I've read and the fact I'm a fan of David Twohy (Pitch Black, the Warlock movies, and yes, even Grand Tour: Disaster in Time), it sounds promising. Unfortunately, I caught the sequel, which reeks of "direct to video".
Jack Addison (Patrick Muldoon: Starship Troopers, Stigmata) is a computer programmer cum hacker who gets a mysterious message from his now-deceased brother Zane (from the first movie). He goes to a meeting with reporter Bridget Riordan (Jane Sibbett: Herman's Head, Carol on Friends), big-honcho scientist Nelson Zarcoll (a hilariously overacting Michael Sarrazin: Midnight Man, The Seduction, The Reincarnation of Peter Proud) and two nobodys. The information revealed is of a vast alien conspiracy among us, attempting to use Earth's own pollutants and energy sources against us. There's also a holographic projector of some sort. Unfortunately, one of the nobodys turns out to be an alien infiltrator. Jack, Bridget and Nelson escape from the glowing "black hole ball" that the alien sets off, and the chase is on as the aliens attempt to recover the projector.
Nelson is rather unbelievably killed (watch for the look of feigned panic on Sarrazin's face as the spider-creature moves in for the kill: only Henry Fonda in The Swarm could do better), and Jack and Bridget are on the run. The alien infiltration goes deep. The daring duo have lost all access to their credit cards and bank accounts, but use the hologram device to determine that the aliens plan to start a nuclear meltdown and raise the global temperature. The aliens prefer heat and can't stand cold, so in this manner they plan to colonize Earth while rendering it uninhabitable for humans. Only Jack's ability to hack into the alien computer systems via the holographic projector/computer link stand between humanity and annihilation.
Basically this movie is pretty lame. Much of The Second Arrival presupposes knowledge of the first movie, which I didn't have. Thus, the spinning "black hole balls" (which seem to be going for some kind of "Phantasm"-like cult appeal) didn't seem to make a lot of sense. That's pretty mild, however, compared to Jack's ability to use the hologram device to generate a virtual reality of one of the alien's ships, then use the computer link to foil their master plans. Despite the fact he keeps disparaging his intellectual achievements (compared to unseen-in-this-sequel brother Zane), he manages to totally take over the alien computer system and use it against them Good thing he can do that with only a few minutes of experimentation, eh?
Presumably they couldn't hire Charlie Sheen (Spin City) on this movie's budget, which tells you something about how low the budget of The Second Arrival really is. Instead we have Patrick Muldoon who is _really_ low budget. Despite a big expositional speech in a bar to his bedmate-to-be (and (*SPOILER* another alien infiltrator), his character is pretty two-dimensional.
Jane Sibbett seems to be having a grand old time playing the kind of reporter/Girl Friday role that would be described as "spunky." Unfortunately, as Lou Grant once said, "I hate spunk!" A little goes a long way. As noted previously, Michael Sarrazin is the "veteran" actor that such movies seem to require: presumably David Warner was off on some other project this week.
Once you get done counting how many ways this movie rips of The Invaders (both the ‘67 original and the ‘95 mini-series/remake), the main fun is to be had counting the plot holes. The aliens demonstrate the Jason Voorhees-like ability to be wherever they need to be whenever they need to be to intercept the heroes...except they never quite succeed in doing so. Also, why do they kill Sarrazin's character with a big needle-sticking spider, but the ambulance attendants think it was a heart attack?!?
The whole "lost our credit cards" and "nobody believes us!" and "wanted for crimes we didn't commit!" plotlines are way overdone these days, and just seem to pad out the film. All these plot elements manage to tap into a certain degree of paranoia, but there's nothing new done with them.
Overall The Second Arrival is pretty much mindless timekiller: watch it if you have nothing better to do, or if you want to catch the numerous errors (like the self-breaking window!).
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