Independence Day: Resurgence (3 stars)

Independence Day: Resurgence

Belated alien invasion sequel that takes things up a notch for better and worse

Twenty years after Independence Day stoked blockbusters’ appetite for destruction with a fusillade of alien invasion and disaster movie ballistics, director Roland Emmerich’s taste for excess both heightens and hobbles the follow-up. Forced to find new ways of shrieking, Emmerich goes for broke, giggling at his own daft outing’s expense on his merrily self-aware way. But he leaves little room for clarity or involvement; when you’re wondering exactly which major landmark is crashing into which, it’s hard to care.

It opens neatly in a well-imagined alternate reality, where humans have pimped Earth’s defences using alien tech pilfered in 1996. Yet the original film’s tension is an early casualty of overcrowding and predictability. Shuttled on a natty spacecraft between Roswell and a moon base, ensemble stars old (Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner; but not Will Smith) and new (Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe, Jessie T Usher) struggle gamely to make an impact despite being bit players in a second alien stand-off. When the extraterrestrial threat looms into view it registers flatly, more inevitable irritant than terrifying foe.

The fun starts when a 3,000-mile uber-spaceship wrecks Earth’s gravity, deposits Asia on London and then, in one of Emmerich’s more coherent images, straddles the Atlantic malignantly. The director assumes old-school showman duties from here, keeping a molten-core of goofy action cooking. Aerial dogfights, alien prison breakouts and spaceship interior battles zoom by; elsewhere, a new species adds mystery.

You’re never bored, just bludgeoned. The dialogue thuds like the final act’s Cloverfield-esque alien queen’s outsized feet; piecemeal plot chunks, meanwhile, slam together like tumbling masonry. As the narrative lumbers to its threequel-teasing climax, Resurgence resembles an over-egged, under-formed prelude more than the desired main event. It entertains, often relentlessly, yet rains rubble on audience engagement.

General release from Thu 23 Jun.

Independence Day: Resurgence

  • 3 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 1h 59min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Roland Emmerich
  • Written by: Carter Blanchard, Dean Devlin, Roland Emmerich, James A Woods, Nicolas Wright
  • Cast: Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Maika Monroe
  • UK release: 24 June 2016

Years after the original alien attack, humans have pilfered their tech to improve Earth's defences, but the aliens come back anyway in a 3000-mile-wide mega-spaceship. Overcrowded and predictable sequel with bludgeoning special effects and clunky dialogue.