WAR OF THE WORLDS 2: THE NEXT WAVE (2008). Director: C. Thomas Howell.
C. Thomas Howell both directs and stars in this sequel to the direct-to-video movie War of the Worlds (2005). Dr. George Herbert (Howell) is in the thick of things when the martians return to earth and kidnap humans using zap beams that seem to disintegrate them but actually teleport them into bizarre holding pens. The martian ships, like the creature in Alien, turn out to be a kind of bio-technological living being, and the martians want to homogenize human blood so its microbes won't infect them as before. When Herbert's son is zapped, Herbert gets himself kidnapped and finds himself some unlikely allies in the war against the aliens, not to mention his search for his son. War of the Worlds 2: The Next Wave is a little more involving than the first film, has some interesting [if derivative] ideas and sequences, and Howell gives a very good performance, but there seem to be confusing narrative gaps and a little too much talk, especially in the first half. The climax has some real suspense, however.
Verdict: Bleak and tedious at times despite some good moments. **1/2.