Skylin3s (2020)

Liam O'Donnell

Running Time: 110 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Lindsey Morgan, Rhona Mitra, James Cosmo, Alexander Siddig, Daniel Bernhardt, Yayan Ruhian, Jonathan Howard, Ieva Andrejevaite, Samantha Jean, Giedre Mockeliunaite, Jeremy Fitzgerald, Phong Giang, Cha-Lee Yoon, Naomi Tankel

A decade since its first instalment was released, and Skyline has become the little franchise that could. Writer and director Liam O'Donnell revitalised the series with 2017's sequel, Beyond Skyline, taking the series to different places to keep things fresh, a trick which has also worked for this third entry. The alien hybrids known as Pilots live peacefully alongside humanity, but a virus threatens to turn them against humans. To stop this, Captain Rose Corley (Lindsey Morgan) must lead a team of elite mercenaries to an alien world, on a mission to save what's left of mankind.

In a wise move, the film opens on a recap, giving the necessary backstory to ensure any franchise newbies are all caught up. It's been 15 years since the first alien invasion, and a crumbled society has been rebuilt, where Pilots and humans co-exist with each other. When this peace is threatened, humanity launches the offensive by taking the fight to the alien's home-world. We often see aliens crossing the galaxy to attack Earth, but rarely the other way around, so it's refreshing to have that as the focus.

Leading the mission is Rose Corley, a Captain with powers linked to the alien forces. Unfortunately, her abilities have recently received a nasty side-effect, as each use causes her to physically worsen. Lindsey Morgan puts terrific work into the central role, selling the character as a tough leader fighting for what's right, while never becoming too self-serious. Much of her time is spent with Trent, her brother whose mind is in a pilot's body. His situation adds personal stakes to this mission for Rose, while also putting a fun spin on this sibling relationship. Like many odd-couple pairings, it's aided by great camaraderie which makes it easier to believe in.

As the story takes off into space, we settle into the company of believable characters sharing good interactions. There may be turns you'll see coming from very early on, but the journey is such a blast to watch that it doesn't matter too much. It especially feels stronger than the earthbound elements, which are designed to give hope, but unfortunately comes off as unnecessary filler. Thankfully, wherever the scenes are set, the audience are treated to well-choreographed action scenes. This is especially true when it's enacted by real people with such physicality, as opposed to gun fights and a reliance on visual effects. Overall, this is perhaps the best instalment of a franchise that's quietly established itself as rather solid. If a fourth film becomes a reality, here's hoping it can continue that upwards trajectory.

Skylin3s is now available in select cinemas and from Video on Demand services