(15+) US. Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan
Fusing fierce close-quarter combat with an apocalyptic sci-fi scenario, Jonathan Liebesman’s gung-ho war movie embeds us with a platoon of US marines fighting for survival during an alien invasion. The extraterrestrials are a highly trained fighting force, their destructive drone aircraft and heavily armoured infantry wreaking global havoc. With just three hours to go before an air strike destroys Santa Monica, veteran Marine staff sergeant Michael Nantz (Eckhart) and his team must extract some civilians from an abandoned police station and take them to safety.
Stunningly shot on celluloid by cinematographer Lukas Ettlin, the grainy hand-held images resemble a 12A-rated version of Black Hawk Down, but the tone flips between documentary-style authenticity and the adrenaline-junkie excitement of a first-person computer game. The weak link is Christopher Bertolini’s script, which lumbers the flat military characters with hackneyed dialogue and corny sentimentality. Not even Eckhart can survive such banality, and kick-ass specialist Michelle Rodriguez is wasted as sidekick sergeant Elena Santos.