The original Independence Day holds a special place in my DVD/Blu-ray collection. It’s one of those movies that you watch over and over again, and have playing in the background when you have relatives over for the holidays.
But while ID4 is still one of the best popcorn-crunching mayhem movies around, the sequel doubles up as a shameless cash grab at nostalgia and a love letter to the growing China market. But that’s not the worst part, because they went and made Independence Day: Resurgence without (arguably) the best part of the first movie: Will Smith.
For all the money that they got from Chinese investors, they should have been able to afford Smith’s paycheck plus change. Instead, we get a bevy of forgettable newcomers, save for lesser-Thor Liam Hemsworth, who plays the same type of cocksure pilot as Smith did in the original, but with a lot less charm.
The sequel follows the same trajectory as the original: Aliens invade the Earth, humans fight back with daring pilots and clever scientists. Except that this time round, the charge isn’t just led by the Americans. They do it with the help of the Chinese. Because spaceships and stuff are expensive, okay.
At least some of the budget did go to bringing back some of the cast members of the first movie like Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner and Bill Pullman. Alas, even their concerted efforts are not enough to raise the level of this drudgery. If nothing else, they didn’t defeat the aliens with a human virus this time round.
As you’ll have heard by now, Singapore landmark Marina Bay Sands is destroyed in the movie. The only problem: Nothing in that scene resembles Singapore. They essentially took the Marina Bay Sands building and slapped it onto a generic Asian city. Heck, even Hitman: Agent 47 actually got our taxis right.
Singaporean actor Chin Han does have a brief role as the commander of the Chinese Moon Base, but in the best tradition of token minority characters, he…well, you’ll find out.
The special effects for Independence Day: Resurgence are a marked improvement from its predecessor, swapping out live-action miniatures for computer generated destruction. However, compared to the current state of special effects in the market, it looks a bit cheesy (which could have been a conscious choice to replicate ID4).
For all its’ shortcomings, Resurgence is still your standard summer popcorn fare. A bit brainless and brazen, but not really worth your weekend ticket premium. I would wait for the DVD/Blu-ray to watch this or if it makes it to Netflix.
Independence Day: Resurgence is playing in Singapore now. Tell us your thoughts on the movie!