Some things are universal, and one of those things is sequels. In 2017 the Russian sci-fi romance Attraction made a killing at the domestic box office. And apparently did fairly well elsewhere. So now director Fedor Bondarchuk and writers Oleg Malovichko and Andrey Zolotarev are back with Attraction 2: Invasion. Is it a worthy followup or a not so cheap cash in?
It’s three years after the events of the original. Julia (Irina Starshenbaum, T-34), as a result of her contact with the aliens now has strange abilities. Of course, the government is studying her, trying to determine what caused their development. And how they can duplicate them.
Also in the time since the last film, Earth has bee surrounded by a defense shield to prevent a repeat of the first film’s events. What nobody knows is that the aliens are still here. Their ship sits inside the shield hidden by a cloaking device. The artificial intelligence controlling it concludes that humans now pose a threat to other civilizations and must be dealt with.
Attraction 2: Invasion brings back several characters from the original. Apart from Julia, her father Colonel Lebedev (Oleg Menshikov, Gogol. The Beginning), Hakon (Rinal Mukhametov) and Artyom (Alexander Petrov) turn up in the sequel. At first, it looks like it’s going to be a continuation of the first film’s love story. However, it quickly changes gears and becomes a more standard action film.
Running two and a quarter hours Attraction 2: Invasion wants to be the next science-fiction epic. Unfortunately, the script isn’t up to the task and the problems show right from the start. I saw and reviewed the original. That’s the only reason much of the first act made sense to me. Anyone who hasn’t seen it is going to be lost for a good part of the film.
The alien AI uses social media to get the information it needs to manipulate Earth’s communications networks by way of real-time deep fakes. It’s certainly a topical idea. It’s also ironic given Russia’s real-life social media disinformation campaigns. Everyone being forced back to old school communication devices like landlines, typewriters, etc. is an interesting idea. But all it really is is a gimmick, it never has much effect on the actual plot.
There’s also the problem of the main characters vanishing out of what is supposed to be their story. For much of the second act, Attraction 2: Invasion turns into a generic military vs aliens film. Until, of course, the military falls short. The two plotlines needed to be integrated, not abruptly cut in and out of.
While we never get an actual invasion the alien’s final plan is pretty unique. And the water dome allows for some nice effects work and scenes of destruction. Including a few effects that I think were meant as a homage to TRON. But we really needed to get to this point a lot sooner because I was really beginning to lose interest. And that’s something I can’t say about the other recent large budgeted Russian sci-fi thriller The Blackout: Invasion Earth.
Already released in several countries, Attraction 2: Invasion will be released in North America by Dark Sky Films on July 21st.