It starts with scenes from Camp Pendleton, home of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Regiment U.S.M.C. otherwise referred to as the “25.” Aaron Eckhart plays veteran Staff Sgt. Nantz who after a number of combat tours in Iraq decides to take his 20 and rotate to the world. His plans are sabotaged by persnickety aliens that decide to invade planet Earth for its water. Although the reason(s) for the invasion was never developed in the story, an egghead from some university (probably NYU) postulates that water is a form of fuel for the invaders; they’re here to take our water – a concept so ludicrous that it’s laughable. I’ll explain why in just a minute, but it is a glaring example of how poorly researched this film was.
This is why water makes for very poor fuel. Water is H2O, that means it has two parts Hydrogen and one part Oxygen. The source of energy in water is Hydrogen because it contributes a single proton, a single electron and a single neutron. Using electrolysis (large electrical current run through water to separate O from H2) leaves and H2 or hydrogen gas atom – highly explosive I might add. Because H2 is in its most stable form, splitting it into 2H (two hydrogen atoms), to get two electrons and two protons and two neutrons, requires an enormous amount of energy. The aliens would better off vaporizing humans to extract the hydrogen (H) from the carbon chains in our bodies. Folks, I can assure you that there is not a respectable alien in the Universe that would use water as a fuel. Take my word for it okay!
Anyway, the aliens hit every major metropolitan center across the planet – sound familiar? That’s because its been used in virtually all alien invasion movies ever made. When news of the invasion broke, Staff Sgt. Nantz’s C.O. cancels his retirement and places him in a unit with a rookie LT. His problems worsen when his squad finds out he got some Marines killed in Iraq – an idea later dispelled with a moving speech, from Nantz, in which he calls out the dead’s names and serial numbers.
Nantz’s squad is ordered to move to an abandoned police station to rescue civilians. As Nantz’s LT manuevers his squad, his ineptness is revealed which climaxes as it becomes clear that he’s gotten himself into a complete cluster-fuck (military jargon for bad situation). It is at this point that he allows Nantz greater latitude, but a supportive Nantz always insists that the LT lead.
Along the way, Nantz’s squad picks up Air Force Tech Sergeant Elena Santos, played by Michelle Rodriguez. Santos was on a “secret” mission to locate “The” Command and Control alien ship. Folks, the second thing that respectable alien invaders would never do – especially one’s capable of interstellar travel – is create a single point of failure in the invasion force – joins up with Nantz’s squad. Upon her arrival Nantz hands her an M4 saying “Airman, I hope you know how to use this…” to which she says “Staff Sgt. I didn’t get my stripes on my good looks…” I couldn’t stop laughing but I can assure you that it wasn’t marksmanship that got her promoted.
With civilians (one who is a veterinarian) and Santos in tow, Nantz wounds an alien. They decide to dissect the creature to determine where to shoot it to kill it. They cut into its chest and begin to stab various parts of it with a K-Bar to see what spot would lead to its death – LOL. They find that a spot to the right of where a human heart would be is where you need to hit them to kill them. Once they find that spot Nantz orders his squad to shoot to the right of where the heart would be. Information that he never shares with his command and control.
Nantz and his squad slug their way through Los Angeles arriving at the extraction zone with the remaining members of his party. The Helo takes off when he and Santos spot “The” Command and Control ship. Nantz orders the pilot to put him 20 feet above it. Unable to comply, Nantz decides to fastrope into the AO alone; however, his team, including Santos, inspired by Nantz courage fastrope in with him. Once in position, they use a laser designator and call in an air strike but “The” Command and Control ship uses drones to target the incoming missiles. Finally, Santos attacks one of the drones with an AT4 taking out the drone, which allows the incoming missile to hit “The” Command and Control ship.
It wasn’t a complete disaster but pretty damned close. Throughout the movie you get a sprinkling of some good fire fights but that’s all you get. If you’re a closet commando, you may like this movie because it’s full of inspirational one liners.
Regrettably, it’s consistent with the endless supply of crap coming from Hollywood lately. Where has good art gone?