I have a shaky relationship with the Brits at best, given films such as Psychomania and Zeta One. At the same time, however, they have given us such great shows/experiments such as Garth Merengi's Dark Place and Look Around You. This film series is the first of many that I really took the time to track down and watch for the site, having never heard of it before. It was quite interesting, to say the least!
Xtro: This film is really, really weird. In theory, it is about a man who comes back as an alien and turns his kid into one. What we actually get though is a scene where an adult man is birthed from a pregnant man, a kid that turns his toy soldier into a weapon and a pointless scene of a black panther. The ending(s) of the movie all make no sense, no matter which one you pick. The DVD comes with an interview with the director who blames the studio for problems with this film, the star with problems in II and himself for III. Good stuff.
Xtro II: What a weird jump! This in-name-only sequel is a rip-off of Aliens & features Jan-Michael Vincent and that evil guy from The X-Files (Nicholas Lea). It all involves a group of scientists who send people into another dimension, only for them to die. Their only solution: get the only guy to survive the last bad attempt at this. This movie is pure, schlocky fun. The alien is silly, the plot is stupid and you can practically see the cue cards the Jan-Michael is reading off of. If you like movies that are so bad that they are funny, check this ugly little gem out.
Xtro III- Watch The Skies: This movie is pretty weird as well and comes completely out of left field. After the last two films, were you expecting an alien revenge tale built around UFO-mythology. The plot is nothing that interesting, but the effects are. You get numerous effects-revealing shots (including a bit that reveals an alien head to be bust with air hoses in it) and silly Predator-style effects. It's not as notable as the other films though and will not shock or offend you as much. It is a weak entry in the series, but not without its merits- ironic as they may be.
In closing, this 'series' is really quirky. The only relation: aliens. Not even the same kind of aliens, mind you, as one of them involves aliens from another dimension. The jump from evil aliens in Britain to dimension-hopping aliens to UFO conspiracies is extremely jarring. Even so, you can have a good time with them- especially Xtro II's ludicrous nature. These are dark horse films, but worthy of attention by those with a quirky sense of humor and sensibility.
Up next, a look back at a group of films about ugly vampires, re-used sets and dramatic cast upheaval. Stay tuned...