War of the Worlds: Extinction

War of the Worlds: Extinction (2024) Review

War of the Worlds: Extinction is a followup to The Asylum’s 2021 film War of the Worlds: Annihilation, and like it makes its premier as a Tubi Original. Its opening montage, however, flips the script entirely, revealing that rather than Earth being invaded it was us doing the invading, attacking and trying to colonize the planet Emios after we made Earth uninhabitable.

Almost immediately after that montage, we see the one returning character, General Skuller (William Baldwin, Minutes to Midnight, South of Hope Street) leading his troops against the Earth forces, apparently in defiance of orders to stand down and welcome what are referred to as refugees from Earth. Any chance of that happening vanishes when he sees his daughter vaporized by an enemy craft while trying to lead some of those refugees to safety.

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Understandably pissed off, he goes totally rogue and sends Alice (April Mae Davis, The Booze, Bets and Sex That Built America, The Night) to Earth to find something called the Terra Modus, which can destroy all life on Earth. While she’s doing that, he puts together a crew to take a ship through the wormhole that connects the two planets and destroys, of all places, Nairobi, as a show of force.

Earth’s defences are led by General Alfaro (Michael Paré, The Beast Comes at Midnight, Desert Fiends), whose ex Sybil (Kate Hodge, The Ones That Have Fallen, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III) and daughter Jill (Jessy Holtermann, The Christmas Venue, The Thursday Night Club) just happens to be studying the Terra Modus. And when Sybil is captured by Skuller’s troops, it’s up to their daughter Jill and Scott (Jack Pearson, Top Gunner: Danger Zone, Time Pirates) to figure its secrets out before Skuller can use it to destroy Earth.

Marc Gottlieb, whose scripts range from the good, Triassic World, to the dismal, Megalodon: The Frenzy, takes the odd position that Skuller, who is literally defending his planet from invasion and colonization, should have stood down and welcomed the invaders. Director Christopher Ray (Assault on VA-33, Attack of the Meth Gator) takes this and runs with it, with the viewer being left to either root for the destruction of Earth, or cheer characters who are, by all objective standards, the bad guys.

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Possibly they’re trying to use that paradox to let War of the Worlds: Extinction point out how loyalties cloud our perception, or maybe the absurdity and futility of war in the age of planet destroying arsenals. But this is an Asylum film, so I’m probably giving them too much credit. More likely, someone thought this was a great idea and nobody bothered thinking of just how this would make much of the film play out.

Instead, they pile on clichés about aliens and ancient civilizations and squabbling siblings and punctuate it with newsreel footage of disasters and footage from some of their previous films. There are a couple of battles between Skuller’s cruiser and Earth’s fighters. They’re nothing special although the effects, while average at best, are impressive for an Asylum film, especially compared to several of their recent theatrical releases. The hideous green screen work in the film’s final scenes are on that level, however.

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I liked War of the Worlds: Annihilation and had high hopes for War of the Worlds: Extinction. Sadly, it’s not even close to the original By the time the film does address the issue of who is to blame, there are only a few minutes left, and it resolves it with a couple of cheap Mea culpa moments and unconvincing attempts at redemptive heroics before a corny as hell final scene.

I give the filmmakers credit for trying something different, but the execution is a mess and turns an important issue, especially in a world as full of wars and potential wars as we live in, into a plot gimmick.

War of the Worlds: Extinction is available free with ads on Tubi.

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