This weeks Movie Monday post is on this movie which is not too far from being what I think could have been a great film, a little like Skyline but this one did work a little better.
Simply this is an alien invasion movie that tries to be Black Hawk Down, but with aliens. It starts during the invasion then rewinds to the previous day where we meet Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz who is about to retire but the invasion comes and he is put into a platoon that is not his regular one and he is not well liked within this platoon because he was the sole survivor of an incident where a brother of one of this platoon died. The platoon is commanded by an officer who passed out top of his class, just recently.
They are assigned to go to a police station in the hostile zone and rescue some civilians who had been left there. Along the way they encounter the enemy and engage in a small fire fight. Once at the station they call in a helicopter pickup, but as the helicopter is lifting off with injured Marines (no civilians) It is blown out of the sky by the alien aircraft. Before this point the aliens had not deployed any aerial units. This changes the conflict, giving the invaders an advantage. So the Marines have to get to the safe zone by other means. They are in a hurry because the U.S. Air Force is going to Carpet Bomb that region. So after catching a wounded alien and slicing it up to find the best way to kill it they hot wire a bus and make their way to the freeway. In the process they discover that the aliens are tracking their movements by the radios they are using. Nantz uses this to lure in and blow up one of the alien drones.
Unfortunately they have to abandon the bus and go on foot to somewhere that is safe as they will not make it to the safe zone before the bombing begins. They loose their commanding officer in the process, and the way he dies it looks like Nantz has left him behind so he can survive.
I’ll leave the plot there and let you find out what happens yourselves.
I like the idea of this one. It does not focus on the bigger picture but on the human side of the fight. This for me saves this movie. Whereas Skyline did not make me feel for the characters this one does. Aaron Eckhart’s portrayal of Staff Sergeant Nantz saves this movie. A few of the cast do help but it is Eckhart who I felt for most in this movie. The action is not bad and I like some of the aspect of the aliens and how they are operating.
The story is okay, a little thin in places, annoying in others. What I did find a little annoying is that there are too many clichés in this movie. The experienced Sergeant who is about to retire who is well decorated, but his last mission did not go well. The inexperienced Lieutenant who dies, the aliens who are almost unbeatable. The marines who have a problem with the sergeant and so on. One thing that I felt was a little clumsy was that all the Marines call Nantz Staff Sergeant. Not sarge or Sargeant, but Staff Sergeant. If someone could tell me is this how Marines in the U.S. talk to their N.C.O’s?
That said though I do enjoy watching this movie, The acting is not bad, the directing is not either. The plot is a little simple and direct but I think its acceptable, but It is Eckhart who carries this movie.
Is it worth a watch? Yes. Could it have been better? Yes, but it’s better than a lot of rubbish out there at the moment.