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Resurgence Has More Issues Than My Kidneys

Somewhere in the middle of Independence Day: Resurgence, cocky fighter pilot Jake Morrison (Liam Hermsworth) creates a diversion for the remaining surviving pilots to escape the 3,000 ft. long mothership and regroup back to Area 51. He does this by -- and I'm not kidding -- whipping his dick out and taking a piss on the alien ship. I bet Roland Emmerich (who also co-wrote and co-produced) thought this was a nice bit of humor to alleviate the supposed tension in the scene, but in reality, it's the perfect metaphor for how he, Dean Devlin, James Vanderbilt and everyone else who was involved with this piece of shit is pissing on what made the original sci-fi invasion blockbuster enjoyable, as well as what they think of the paying audience. It's the same visceral 'fuck you!' feeling I got watching past summer junk like Michael Bay's vile Bad Boys 2 or Adam Sander's reprehensible That's My Boy, as if they're actively telling us, "yeah, this movie sucks, and you just wasted your money and your time, sucker!"

It's been 20 years since the first invasion and in that time, humanity has advanced significantly: using the remains of the alien technology, planet Earth has created the Earth Space Defense program, complete with fighter jets which are capable of space travel, putting lasers on the moon and other neat goodies (surprisingly enough, there's no flying cars, and guns are still a thing, given they have laser weaponry and an advanced nuclear arsenal) that feels like something out of Star Trek. Unfortunately, all the advancements made in the two decades past can't stop the aliens from returning with a bigger fleet, a bigger mothership and causing more destruction than all of Michael Bay's Transformers movies combined. See, before Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum took out the mothership in the first movie, the aliens sent out a distress signal, calling for re-reinforcements, or as I like to call it - the thinly veiled excuse to make this crap. Oh, and speaking of Smith, he's not in this movie, which means he, despite starring in dreadful popcorn flicks like Wild Wild West and After Earth, made one of the wiser career decisions of his career. In his place is his son, elite fighter pilot Dylan Hiller (Jessie Usher) trying to recapture the charaisma and the swagger of Smith's Steven Hiller character, and it goes about as well as you'd expect this sort of thing to go - like a balloon full of lead.

Smith might be gone, but the vets from the first movie mostly return, including Bill Pullman as Thomas Whitmore, Judd Hirsch as David's stereotypical Jewish father, the reliable Jeff Goldblum as David Levinson, now chief of the Earth Space Defense program and Brett Spiner as the irritating wacky scientist/comic relief character. Vivica A. Fox is also back, but given that she's so inconsequential in this installment, she might as well not have bothered to star in it. There's also new characters, like the grown-up daughter of President Whitmore, Patricia (scream queen Makia Monoroe), who, like her father, is a fighter pilot; Rain Lao (Angelababy, aka - Yang Ying) another fighter pilot in the ESD; Dr. Catherine Marceaux (art house darling Charlotte Gainsbrough), an associate/love interest to Levinson; and Selma Ward as Elizabeth Langford, the 45th and first woman president of the United States, who....you know what, I don't give a fuck! These characters really don't make much of an impression because they're mostly one-dimensional. The original film had paper-thin characters as well, but at least the actors had charisma and a solid rapport to cover up the problems with the script. In this one, it looks like they're all phoning in their collective checks, as if making this bloated monstrosity was the last thing on their minds, and it wouldn't surprise me it it was.

Perhaps the worst aspect of Resurgence is the action scenes and the visual effects, namely, that the film's second and third act is just one scene of cities being wasted by the alien invaders after another, or just watching planes being swatted from the sky by the queen bee alien. To put this in perspective: the first movie was a Michael Bay-style mindless popcorn flick before Michael Bay re-wrote the rules on what a brainless popcorn movie could be, but the way the action and the destruction was captured was an impressive feat for its day and age. When we see the White House and downtown Manhattan being blown to smithereens, it had significance; the use of scale models in close ups being destroyed give it impact because we felt and believed that it was real. In Resurgence, the sight of seeing London, Beijing, and the Eastern Seaboard being destroyed doesn't hold up to the more practical-based effects of the first one because we know it's all artificial and fake, it simply takes the surprise and the excitement out of it.

Independence Day: Resurgence is a total mess of a summer movie. The characters are too many and too flat and one-dimensional to feel for any of them, the acting is on full autopilot/paycheck mode, and the script is bot too stupid to be enjoyed, feels like a rehash of what we saw the first time around. The worst part are the action scenes, it's an overload of pixilated, prolonged carnage, and overbearing sound mixing and editing that pummels you into submission. The original had a runtime of two hours and twenty-one minutes, yet the pacing felt like a breezy, two-hour affair. This new movie is two hours, yet I felt like I was trapped watching Transformers: Age of Extinction, which was 165 minutes long. It just doesn't end, and you're wishing you could get your time back, as well as your money. Sadly, this might not be the worst film I've seen this year: I can stomach bad popcorn movies, but unfunny and borderline obnoxious "comedies" will make my spin my wheels every time. This movie, though? This wheel just might explode......

Zero stars out of ****

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