(director/writer: Roland Emmerich; screenwriters: Dean Devlin, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, Roland Emmerich, James Vanderbilt, based on a story by Devlin, Wright, Woods; cinematographer: Markus Foederer; editor: Adam Wolfe; music: Harald Kloser, Thomas Wanker; cast: Jeff Goldblum (David Levinson), Bill Pullman (President Whitmore), Liam Hemsworth (Jake Morrison), Maika Monroe (Patricia Whitmore), Jessie T. Usher (Dylan Hiller), William Fichtner (General Adams), Brent Spiner (Dr. Brakish Okun), John Storey (Dr. Isaacs), Charlotte Gainsbourg (Catherine Marceaux), Vivica A. Fox (Jasmine Hiller), Joey King (Sam), James Woods (Lt. Ritter), Angelababy (Rain Lao), Sela Ward (President Lanford), Judd Hirsch (Julius Levinson), Grace Huang (Female Technician), Ryan Cartwright (David’s Assistant ), Deobia Oparei (Dikembe Umbutu ), Chin Han (Commander Jiang), McKenna Grace (Daisy) Nicholas Wright (Floyd Rosenberg), Travis Tope (Charlie Miller), Gbenga Akinnagbe (Agent Travis), Grizelda Quintana (Road Rage / Confrontation Driver), Patrick St. Espirit (Secretary of Defense Tanner), Robert Loggia (General Grey); Runtime: 119; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Harald Kloser; 20th Century Fox; 2016)

A dull and humorless sequel.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A dull and humorless sequel to the 1996 blockbuster hit “Independence Day,” one that was campy, had a lot of goofy fun and a cutting edge technology. It’s fondly remembered for the White House being blown to bits by a giant alien laser beam. In the sequel, only the visuals and production designs are effective. Most of the original cast return and sleepwalk through their banal parts.

This was Robert Loggia’s last role before passing away. There’s no Will Smith (wanted too much money). He’s been killed off and replaced by his boring elite fighter pilot son (Jessie T. Usher).

It’s again directed by Roland Emmerich (“The Patriot”/”White House Down”). Emmerich co-writes with James Vanderbilt. It’s based on a story by Dean Devlin, Nicokas Wright, and James A. Woods.

The script is weak and the confusing plot is a muddled mess with too many subplots. It opens taking a long and tedious time to show the characters living 20 years after stemming an alien invasion. No matter the need for the set up, all the characters remain sketchy.

We learn that President Whitmore’s (Bill Pullman) daughter Patricia (Maika Monroe), in a fruitless part, where she replaced Mae Whitman, is a former flying ace who gave up her career to care for her aging father. She now is in love with maverick ace space pilot Jake (Liam Hemsworth), who operates space tugs on the moon.

In the sequel there are many Chinese in choice parts, such as the beautiful Angelababy, who plays the maverick fighter pilot Rain. Her uncle General Lao (Chin Han) is a moonbase commander. We also catch up with fighter pilot backstories, which turn out to be irrelevant. Other characters include Deobia Oparei playing an African warlord troubled by alien visions, William Fichtner as a raving general, Charlotte Gainsbourg as a French psychologist specializing in extra terrestrial visions and the key character of the neurotic activist David Levinson is played by Jeff Goldblum. He’s the head of the space defense program who is called upon by the government to deal with the new threat of an alien spaceship that stretches for 3,000 miles. This comes after Pullman has haunting visions of another alien invasion.

It further shows how the nations of Earth have collaborated to build a sophisticated defense program on the moon to protect the planet from further attacks by using recovered alien technology. Yes. The aliens are back. Brent Spiner’s Dr. Brakish Okun comes out of a coma after 20 years to take part in the key battle, while Judd Hirsch tries to be funny as the eccentric dad reuniting with his genius son Goldblum in the big battle scene. Under Sela Ward’s rigid woman President Lanford, the Earth fights back. After the giant alien mother-ship crushes cities and countries by just passing them by with its gravitational pull, the battle comes to Area 51 and is won by the good guys.

The fluff sci-fi blockbuster lacked any emotional weight, leaving me indifferent to its joyless alien and soap-opera narrative.