Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Do I really need to tell you this? When a movie is titled World Invasion, you know it’s not going to be a quiet little tiptoe through the rubble. World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles—aka Gung Ho US Marine Recruitment Ad— is a noisy war movie you’ve seen in so many forms previously. You’ll love it if you’re an adrenaline junkie; you’ll hate it if you’re an inactive or a more-or-less dead person.
Me? I took a pill to calm the shaky cam urgency (which actually worked since, thankfully, it really isn’t that shaky). The main thing is that it’s District 9 meets Black Hawk Down. But in between, there are bits of Independence Day, War Of The Worlds, Starship Troopers, Aliens, a bus escape from Dawn Of The Dead, and particularly those debris-strewn, totally KO-ed abandoned city scenes which you see in apocalyptical sci-fi flicks even on TV.
Heck, except for the marines thing, it looks like a fax copy of the recent similar invasion deal, Skyline. In fact, initially, there were threats of a lawsuit as the same visual effects people were involved in both films. Man, isn’t CGI especially liberating for rip-offs?
“You kill anything that’s not human,” goes the order to the marines fighting the massive alien invasion down in downtown. Hey, with all kinds of freaks chilling in LA, sometimes you can’t really tell. Fortunately, it’s damn easy to pick out the bad guys here because they come shooting from the get-go looking like storm troopers from America’s Next Top Model.
From out of nowhere, they’re suddenly here on our turf, Cloverfield-style, smashing down like meteorites as unstoppable techno-advanced invaders—their aircraft can split up like pieces in a pie for the awesome-cool effect— turning the entire place into a thrashed-out junkyard.
Out in the streets, those creatures are quite lithe and nimble—as if they took ballerina lessons from Natalie Portman in Black Swan— as they attack in military formation and fire their laser guns at a squad of panicky soldiers (led by Rabbit Hole’s Aaron Eckhart) from rooftops like insurgents in Iraq.
Now, these ET dudes are here because they need our water for fuel. Which begs the burning question – why fight on land when you can just suck out all the water FOC in the sea? But asking killjoy details like this is like pulling the plug out from a happening video game.
The invasion here, of course, is not so much a World sort but more of a Brain kind. In this instant digital age, numbing the senses is as important as dumbing them down. From start to finish, you know that the group of marines (Michelle Rodriguez and singer Ne-Yo included) sent on a rescue mission will be steadfast and determined in their duty despite the severe trials and tribulations of taking on a superior enemy.
As the shock of this-can’t-be-happening climbs down, the bravado amps up. I mean, you don’t have to shout “Ooo-rah” for them. These fellas do it readily while blowing themselves up in selfless team-spirited sacrifice. So the second burning question is why wasn’t there a recruiting stand outside the cinema hall? If it’s manned by Eckhart, the rush to sign up would be as frenzied as though he’s handing out free gifts at a shopping mall.
As the grizzled, about-to-retire veteran among his bunch of young urban warriors, he’s the reason why we’re not totally exhausted by this firepower venture. The man, a likeable actor with a touch of quiet, agreeable softness, exudes soul. He’s the ubiquitous flawed hero with the “John Wayne street smarts” to save his team, the self doubts (the guy has a dubious military past) to make a crazy inhuman thing look human, and the dedication to make a paycheck seem earned.
“We need to find a way out of this mess,” he exclaims, cutting up a dead alien to find its weak spot. Sure, man. Lead us the way to the video game.