XTRO 2: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER is a sequel in name only to director Harry Bromley Davenport's meanspirited XTRO, an offbeat horror movie released in the wake of ET and advertised with the wittily au courant tagline "Not all aliens are friendly."
The computerized Nexus research facility, located far underground, is dedicated to a government-sponsored project that involves transporting people into parallel dimensions. The first manned attempt is a disaster: three researchers are sent to the other side; only one, Marshall (Tracy
Westerholm), returns, and she's unconscious. Dr. Julie Casserly (Tara Buckman) calls in her mentor and old flame, Dr. Ron Sheperd (Jan-Michael Vincent), the man responsible for the first Nexus project and the only person ever to have gone to the other side and come back. Project director Alex
Summerfield (Paul Koslo) objects violently--Sheperd has been blacklisted because he blew up the last Nexus lab. Summerfield wants to send a military rescue team after the researchers, and orders them to suit up. Sheperd tries to kill the injured Marshall, and Summerfield has him restrained. The
rescue team is in position to go when the Nexus computer reports a "biohazard" and shuts down the facility. A monstrous creature has come from the other dimension, using Marshall as a host; it escapes into the air shafts, where it grows and mutates with frightening speed. Trapped, the scientists
and the troopers team up to destroy the creature. They must also race against the clock: unless the biohazard is destroyed, the computer will flood the sealed facility with lethal radiation. One by one, they're killed by the creature, until only Shepherd, Summerfield, Dr. Casserly and a soldier
are left. Summerfield's strange behavior makes the others suspicious; they realize that he too is an alien host. He is sent back to the parallel dimension, and the remaining three wonder how they will explain what they've been through.
XTRO 2 is not the only film to have taken its cue from Ridley Scott's ALIEN, but the story owes so much to that film and, to a lesser degree, James Cameron's ALIENS, that it's tempting to call it a remake; it's hard to imagine why four writers--John A. Curtis, Steven Lister, Robert Smith and
Edward Kovach--were needed to cobble together such a derivative screenplay. The film follows ALIEN's narrative on a virtual point-by-point basis, changing only superficial details: the space ship Nostromo becomes the isolated Nexus research installation; the doomed reconnaissance trip to the alien
vessel becomes a visit to a "parallel dimension"; the cat-and-mouse game between the ever-metamorphosing creature and the ever-decreasing group of survivors, trapped in a high-tech prison, unfolds along lines strikingly similar to those of ALIEN. Even John Hurt's infamous "indigestion" scene is
duplicated, to considerably less startling effect, and the creature itself--designed by Charlie Grant and Wayne Dang--bears a substantial resemblance to H.R. Giger's ground-breaking biomechanical monster designs. Perhaps the only significant difference is that, unlike the crew of the Nostromo, a
commercial space vessel manned by garbagemen--and women--of the future, the Nexus crew have back-up in the form of armed-to-the-teeth military troopers; they seem to have been lifted from ALIENS.
Though clearly made on a relatively low budget, XTRO 2 is attractively photographed and the overall production values are high; the Nexus complex is convincingly rendered. The performances are adequate, though putative star Jan-Michael Vincent fails to convince as either brilliant scientist or
macho military commander. (Violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: XTRO 2: THE SECOND ENCOUNTER is a sequel in name only to director Harry Bromley Davenport's meanspirited XTRO, an offbeat horror movie released in the wake of ET and advertised with the wittily au courant tagline "Not all aliens are friendly." The comput… (more)