After Zane Ziminski is found dead five people received envelopes with details of an alien invasion. This group of five includes 3 scientists, Zane's brother Jack, and a reporter. Quickly, the group is down to three and then Jack and Bridget, the reporter. With a small piece of alien technology, they must escape from the aliens, who take human form, and try to convince others of the existence of aliens.
Directed by: Kevin Tenney
. Starring: Patrick Muldoon
, Jane Sibbett
, Michael Sarrazin
, Catherine Blythe
, Michael Scherer
, Larry Day
, Steve Adams
, Emidio Michetti
, Stéphane Blanchette
, David Nerman
, Noel Burton
, Mark Trafford
, Lisa Kagan
. Music by: Ned Bouhalassa
The Arrival II is an unnecessary follow-up to the original, an inventive and suspenseful sci-fi thriller. Of course, unnecessary follow-ups are a rule of thumb, so a sequel to The Arrival seemed pretty inevitable, especially when you consider its ending. Too bad this "continuation" lacks all the qualities of its predecessors, namely in good writing, acting, and inspired direction. I actually purchased the Arrival II on DVD...as it was a double feature with the original. Before I even popped the film in, I was expecting ...from the first minute, so the best thing I can say is that the movie turned out to be a bit more watchable than I expected.
The Arrival II is set in Montreal, two months after the events of the original. Radio astronomer Zane Zaminski has died of an apparent heart attack, but he did manage to send out info of the alien invasion to his most trusted colleagues, as well as to his stepbrother, Jack Addison (Patrick Muldoon), and a news reporter (Jane Sibbett, Ross' lesbian ex-wife from Friends). This group becomes the targets of the aliens, until the only survivors are Muldoon and Sibbett, who go on the run together and try to expose the aliens' nefarious plans.
The Arrival II suffers distinctly from a lack of freshness, which is much needed in a sequel that's meant to continue a running story. All the material we have here is pretty much repeat. Basically, we know there are aliens out there disguised as human beings and they're whole goal is to terraform the Earth and mold it into an environment suitable for their own colonization. Oh, and let's not forget that spherical object with a strong vacuum pull.
Like the original, we've got our "intelligent" protagonist (we find this out because everyone keeps telling him he's smarter than he thinks) and blonde chick that plays as love interest. Problem is, these two are played by Patrick Muldoon and Jane Sibbett, neither of whom I've seen in anything on film or TV that suggests they can act. Muldoon is mostly expressionless, though occasionally has that "whoa, dude" act that would give Freddie Prinze, Jr. a run for his money. Sibbett is simply dreadful as the reporter. Let's put it this way, those who found Courtney Cox unconvincing as Gail Weathers in the Scream series will be shouting "Come back! All is forgiven!" The other performances aren't worth noting, except maybe Catherine Blythe, who gives the movie its sole bit of very gratuitous nudity (now that I think about it, the filmmakers should have switched roles between Blythe and Sibbett considering the former is far better an actress and prettier, too).
The script has little to none of the intelligence of the original and it often mistakes scientific mumbo-jumbo as smart screenwriting. The plot's got a lot of twists and turns, mostly involving a guessing game of who's human and who's not. None of these little revelations are the slightest bit surprising, and they might even induce a few scoffs here and there.
The special effects on display range from pretty bad to hilariously awful, the worst bit probably being when one of the aliens reveals its true identity. There are a lot of other clunkers, such as the cheesy-looking holographic displays and the destruction of a power plant in the film's conclusion. Yeah, visual effects themselves usually don't determine a movie's quality, but they sure don't help the film here.
Directed by Kevin S. Tenney, the same guy who gave us the fun Night of the Demons, but has yet to have helmed anything worth seeing since then. For some reason, though, The Arrival II is still somewhat watchable (meaning you won't want to stab yourself in the eye), probably because the concept of aliens disguised as humans is intriguing enough on its own. Too bad this suspenseless and absurd sequel can't capitalize on the original's unique ideas.
Review by Li-1 from the Internet Movie Database.