In August 2011, several meteors land on earth. The meteors lands in multiple places around the world. The common factor of these landings is an ocean near a major city. Hours before the meteors land under the watchful eyes of the media, US Marine Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz(Aaron Eckhart) meets his friend and a superior officer at Camp Pendleton to discuss his retirement plans. After his last mission ends in the loss of many lives, Nantz has been seriously thinking of retirement. His request is accepted by his superior.
The next day, Nantz and his group of Marines are interrupted from their regular training exercises. The meteors have landed on earth by now. All the men are transported to the Forward Operating Base in vehicles. The meteors turn out to be aliens and they are waging war against the humans. Most of the cities on the West Coast have fallen. LA is taking a stand against the aliens. At the Forward Operating Base, Nantz is assigned to a young platoon commander. Their mission is to evacuate civilians trapped inside a police station before the military bombs the entire area to wipe out aliens.
The team is assembled. All of them has heard about Nantz’s earlier mission which costs a lot of lives. So, they are tensed. On top of it, the young platoon commander is unsure about Nantz. Being experienced, will Nantz step out of the line to undermine the commander’s authority? The rest of the movie tells us how Nantz succeeds in fighting the aliens and making soldiers out of the survivors.
Jonathan Liebesman directs this action thriller which fails to effectively engage for many reasons. The movie gives you a feeling of deja vu as the basic story appears in many movies. But the main drawback is the use of extreme close-ups along with the shaky camera. The extreme close-ups are good if it is a drama with excellent performances. The shaky camera is good if it is action movie. Combining these two techniques for a action movie where there are neither great performances nor great action scenes does not work. The other factor which works against the movie is the lack of large canvas. Even though LA is burning, there are a very few shots in the movie that shows the extent of damage to the city. Most of the scenes are confined within couple of blocks in the downtown which hides the big picture from the viewer. CGI effects are minimal.
Stay away from this one.