Marine Staff Sgt Micheal Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is on the verge of retirement when strange meteor-like objects begin to smash off the coast of Los Angeles. He is ordered to conduct one last assignment to assist 2nd lieutenant William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) and his platoon with finding civilians caught in a police station several kilometres from a temporary military intelligence post.
It soon becomes apparent that the 'meteors' are mechanical ships readying to unleash a hostile alien invasion.
Perhaps they should have called this film America Vs. Aliens. It is an over patriotic look at America saving the world (again). While there is scant reference to other countries being invaded through flashes of news broadcast, it would have been good to see more of the world as a whole under threat to heighten how dangerous and bleak the situation really is.
The special effects are the real drawcard for this film. The sound and visuals are crisp and engaging. The entire film has a gritty feel with dark earthy colours saturating the screen.
This is director Jonathan Liebesman's first attempt at sci-fi having previously done psychological gore films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre: the beginning in 2006 and The Killing Room in 2009. Liebesman does attempt to paint an emotional side to the soldiers through the occasional scared face or shaking hand but it just feels like a throw away device in an effort to add depth to the characters.
Throughout the film the theme of choice seems to recur. It looks at decisions and outcomes and how in war they can often be unforeseen. Regardless of judgement, consequences must be lived with. And so as a viewer the only decision you are faced with is whether or not to bother with this film.