This movie’s plot had some potential, but it failed in quite a lot of aspects. In many ways, this film is a mixture of Black Hawk Down and Independence Day, but it lacked the heart of both. Although the set pieces were tremendous, the characters themselves were a bit flat and uninspiring. Unfortunately, the plot did as well.
Aaron Eckhart, of The Dark Knight fame, plays retired Marine Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz. Ramon Rodriguez plays Marine Second Lieutenant William Martinez. Michelle Rodriguez plays Air Force Tech Sergeant Elena Santos. Ne-Yo plays Marine Corporal Kevin Harris. William Rothhar plays Marine Corporal Lee Imlay. There are others in this movie, but these are the major actors in the film for the most part.
Well, the plot is quite simple. Retired Marine Staff Sergeant Nantz comes out of retirement to assist Second Lieutenant William Martinez and ragtag band of Marines and Air Force Sergeant Elena Santos after a preemptive strike from aliens. The aliens send down meteorites down upon the beach of Los Angeles and begin their push toward the city of Los Angeles. These aliens are conveniently water-powered and desire to use water to fuel their spacecraft and themselves as they gradually take over Los Angeles bit by bit. Eventually, like Independence Day, Marine Staff Sergeant Nantz comes upon the giant “mothership” of the alien invasion. He and his ragtag crew of soldiers decide to take it down. With their success, their tactic is relayed to all military forces sprawled around the world.
Although this movie did have potential, perhaps what could have been considered its greatest asset became its greatest downfall — its seriousness. With its Cloverfield-cam, the movie tried to bring some immediacy to the audience and perhaps closer relationship to the soldiers on the field. The movie also attempted to take some cues from Black Hawk Down with its implementation of military equipment, banter and explosions. With both aspects, it failed mostly, as it was hard to relate to the soldiers — and even the civilians during the alien invasion. It’s kind of depressing to see how hard Aaron Eckhart has fallen since his character Two-Face in The Dark Knight. There were many familiar sequences in this movie for those who had watched Independence Day. The destruction of Forward Operation Base Santa Monica similar to El Toro, Aaron Eckhart’s Independence Day speech similar to Bill Pullman‘s and the final destruction of the “mothership” are all fairly comparable. Unlike Independence Day, none of the characters were particularly memorable nor enjoyable to watch. And the plot, well, was quite uninspired.
Verdict (Out of 10)
This is worth a Redbox $1 or so movie rental, but it certainly is not quite a memorable alien or war movie. Independence Day had more empathetic characters and didn’t take itself too seriously for an alien invasion. Also, Bill Pullman’s Independence Day speech was memorable and enjoyable to watch and listen to in that movie. For a better war movie, just watch Black Hawk Down or Saving Private Ryan. Both are much more enjoyable in their actual plot, and both have more empathetic characters.
Overall, it’s a solid 5 out of 10 for me, an average movie that tried too hard to be both an alien and war movie. Unfortunately, it could not succeed in both departments.