This is more Action than Science-Fiction
The story follows a group of soldiers on a mission to rescue trapped civilians in the city of Los Angeles; one of the only cities left standing after a brutal global alien invasion. The alien element is pretty much thrown in to provide some kick-ass bad guys, with only a newsreader’s short voice-over providing some flimsy and unoriginal explanation of their attack.
The first fifteen minutes are a laborious attempt to get us to care about the almost interchangeable group of soldiers, which didn’t quite work as I lost track of who was who, and didn’t really care when quite a few of them were inevitably killed. There were a select few who I did end up caring for by the end of the film, once the group had been whittled down. Most notably, the damaged hero, discharged Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) – the line “I believe in Harvey Dent” constantly ran through my head!
…cheesy lines and another piece of typical American army, power-state propaganda…
The structure of the film is completely textbook, right from the character-setting beginning, to the elevation of action, to the black moment of despair and the ultimate climax. However, this film was never trying to be anything different (unlike District 9) and this solid structure only works to satisfy the thrill-seeking action film fan.
There are some excellent scenes, including the first sighting of the robotic metal-clad aliens marching in-land from the ocean and some fantastic fights. Despite the cheesy lines and the fact that this was another piece of typical American army, power-state propaganda, this was an entertaining watch. Just don’t expect to have to think too hard… or at all.
2 1/2 Stars