Monsters: Dark Continent

Gareth Edwards’ Monsters was a slog. It treated both its sci-fi conceit (an infestation of squid-like aliens breaking through all measures to contain them) and the political allegory behind it (debates over illegal immigration in America, particularly from Mexico) as the locale for a backpacking trip where two rich white people fall in love. Every scene limped along with repetitive, nonsensical dialogue, assured at its own self-importance. Mildly interesting ideas flailed at the edges and basic questions went unacknowledged. Monsters: Dark Continent is half a world away in location (trading Latin America for an unspecified Middle East) and in tone: the structure and perspective remains, but testosterone-fueled aggression is cranked up. Its central journey is less Richard Linklater and more Call of Duty: Black Ops (though I’m sure the half-assed aim was for Apocalypse Now), with a squad of grunts brought in from every bad stereotype of Detroit (a prologue set in the Motor City resembles a Kid Rock video) to fight monsters and insurgents while a Paul Giamatti lookalike screams at them in overexposed white light. The monsters are even less a presence this time, often seen as grunting generics galloping around, the hired help replacing Edwards unwilling to do anything interesting with them besides rehash his film’s intimate climax. Monsters was merely tiresome, Dark Continent feels like punishment.

 

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