The General is injured, so Jaden must save them both. However, he is haunted by the memories of his sister's death at the hands of an alien monster. His sidearm is a Ranger staff-weapon from Babylon 5 , which can reconfigure itself into any of 21 different types of blade. There are no projectile weapons in the future, it seems.
M Night Shyamalan delivers a competent film. There is no twist ending, it is all quite straightforward. Will Smith is good, as always, but his son carries almost the entire film.
Back on Earth, the great cities of America have been invaded. Luckily, even though the military get easily defeated one firefighter leads the fight back. He looks a bit like Dean Cain, but it turns out that he is a different actor. Presumably they could not afford the REAL Dean Cain. Yes, this is the cheaper version of him!
Robert Picardo ( Star Trek: Voyager ) is the US General who leads the human resistance in a counterattack against the alien invaders.
The protagonist is codename S.U.M.1. ( Iwan Rheon ), an albino soldier stationed in a one-man security tower. As his hundred days of solitude progress, he starts to go a bit like Sam Rockwell in Moon . His predecessor is unaccounted for, and his superiors seem to be lying to him.
Well, the obvious comparison is with the Tom Cruise effort Oblivion . What that really means is that not only did the Cruise movie get the big budget and the cinematic release, it also got what little originality there was.
The setup itself seems designed to drive the protagonist insane. Each tour of duty lasts a hundred days, with nobody to talk to except a rat that got into the bunker. No books, distractions or entertainment for over three months. How could the people in charge NOT expect him to become mentally unhinged?
The sad fact is that there is only one ending available for the story.
Although the protagonists are a gang of hoodies, there is a moral tone to the film. The leader of the street gang (John Boyega - Star Wars: The Force Awakens ) must learn to take responsibility for his actions.
The film's defenders claim it is a positive portrayal of the USMC. But the central characters, despite a gratuitous characterisation segment at the start, are merely a bunch of interchangeable red-shirts. Their strategy is based on supposed air superiority by the USAF, but the Marines do not actually call in air support even when ambushed and surrounded. Luckily, the aliens use the central control system that we saw a decade ago in The Phantom Menace . Yes, the USMC stormtroopers are defeated repeatedly by villains who would be hard-pressed to menace Jar-Jar Binks! And some idiots think this is a POSITIVE portrayal of the marines?
This is not even a good action film. The predominant use of shakey-cam in all the action sequences make it very hard to work out what is going on. It is over ten years since Spielberg popularised it in Saving Private Ryan, and it has become a cliche in every battle scene since then.
Los Angeles is invaded by flying saucers. Luckily, it is defended by the reservists from the California Air National Guard. Also, a Ninja-babe ( Nia Peebles ) from Majestic 12 is in town.
It is nice to see something of global significance portrayed somewhere outside of North America. The SPFX are great, but the plot requires some suspension of disbelief. Invisible aliens are one thing, but the idea of a residential apartment being converted into an enormous Faraday cage ...
Tom Cruise is a Military public relations officer. When he disagrees with the General’s plan to send him to the front line, he is branded a deserter and left to the tender mercies of drill sergeant Bill Paxton ( Agents of SHIELD ). Cruise and a squad of expendables (including Jonas Armstrong - Robin Hood 2006 ) are sent into the meat-grinder, ambushed by aliens who knew they were coming and have tactics that negate the humans’ technological advantages.
Cruise gets contaminated by the aliens’ secret weapon - they have the ability to reset time. He also links up with super-soldier Emily Blunt , and discovers that her success was due to time travel too. She becomes a sort of a love-interest to him. This is never developed as a plot thread, and the compulsory sex scene from 1980s action films has been left out so it can get the 12A/PG13 rating that modern action movies are lumbered with.
Some Alien invaders still survive in the shatters remains of Earth. The hydro-rigs are protected by security drones - a flying version of ED-209 from Robocop . Tom Cruise ( Mission Impossible ) is a technician who repairs the drones. He lives with Victoria ( Angela Riseborough ) in a mountaintop penthouse.
Our hero's memory has been wiped (like something out of Philip K Dick ), but he has mysterious dreams about Olga Kurlyenko . Of course, things get a lot more confusing.
Things really kick off when Cruise meets Morgan Freeman ( Shawshank Redemption ), Nicholai Coster-Waldau - Game of Thrones and Zoe Bell (whose lines seem to have been cut from the final version of the film).
Zoologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson - Moana ) discovers that his albino gorilla, George, is starting to mutate. Luckily geneticist Dr Kate Caldwell ( Naomie Harris ) drops by with some exposition. Then MIB Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan - Watchmen ) gets involved.
Meanwhile, corrupt billionaire Claire Wyden ( Malin Akerman ) is under investigation by FBI Agent Park (Will Yun Lee - Die Another Day ). She is the investor behind the serum that accidentally mutated the animals, and needs to get samples of their blood in order to get a return on her investment. Please note, she is a blonde billionaire who operates out of Chicago. Yes, she is basically a more homely version of Ivanka Trump.
The climax of the film is a three-way battle between giant mutated creatures in the centre of the city of Chicago. Gorrilla, wolf and alligator. Plus The Rock himself, of course.
Luckily the US Government sends an envoy to help. She is a young ethnic Japanese woman, fluent in the local language and equipped with American information. The creature was codenamed Godzilla by the Americans, but the Japanese pronounce it Gojira. Yes, the old issue of the naming is actually dealt with on-screen.
The USA has traced the creature back to an underwater dump site for nuclear waste. It absorbed radiation, and developed the power to evolve. The first stage was the original creature, and the second stage was the enlarged version that swam up the river. The third stage crawled on land, and wrecked half of Tokyo. But it is the fourth stage that looks like the traditional Godzilla from the 1960s Toho Studios movies.
Godzilla withstands the Korean army's tanks and artillery, not to mention their rockets and air force bombs. But when the US Air Force is called in, they use B-2 Stealth Bombers with special deep penetration bombs. Godzilla switches to his fifth form. Not only can he breathe fire from his mouth, he can emit laser beams from the scales on his spine. Yes, he has evolved the perfect anti-aircraft defence system!
The young Japanese bureaucrats realise what has happened. Godzilla is basically a walking nuclear reactor, and the only way to shut it down is rapid super-cooling. They need to sends teams in to deliver coolants and coagulants. Yes, finally a monster movie with an intelligent solution.
Trolls, the monsters of scandinavian folklore, are real. Well, convincingly portrayed though CGI. And since the cast has no stars, just talent, there is a convincing amount of tension on-screen.
Each Jaeger needs two pilots, whose actions are linked with a mind-meld. The mind-meld machine is necessary for plot reasons - it allows amped-up character interaction between the PTSD twins, and it allows a comedy-relief scientist to meld with a Kaiju brain.
Do these things not have ejection pods? Well, it turns out they do - but only when the plot demands it.
To put in some phony jeopardy and excessive character development, as well as unnecessary personal motivation, it turns out that BOTH the pilots have PTSD from previous encounters with Kaiju. Seriously? This is so much worse than in The Great Escape, where the tunnel-digger was claustrophobic and the forger was blind!
Jake and his friend get conscripted into the military. He gets paired up with his old buddy Nathan Lambert (Scott Eastwood - Suicide Squad ), the token white guy who has a barely-touched-on romantic subplot with cow-orker Jules Reyes ( Adria Arjona ).
There is a major sub-plot concerning the two nerds. Hermann Gottleib (Burn Gorman - Torchwood ) is now running the military's science program. Dr Newton Geisler (Charlie Day - ) has been recruited by a military industrial contractor, a Chinese mega-corp that wants to privatise global defence. Just like Stark Industries in the MCU, this is not a good idea.
This movie actually has a decent story behind it. However, the third act basically boils down to what the first movie was - lots of action scenes involving giant robots smashing things.
This was produced by Guillermo Del Torro but directed by Stephen S. DeKnight , best known as the creative force behind Spartacus: Blood And Sand . There are a few familiar faces: Dustin Clare ( Wolf Creek: Season One ), Nick E. Tarabay ( Arrow ) and Dan Feuerriegel all get a screen credit.
An oil rig in the North Atlantic is attacked by a giant monster. US Navy Admiral Graham Greene ( Wolf Lake ) orders a diverse trio of pilots (like in Stealth ) to search and destroy. David Cochaki from Baywatch is the lead man, who has a problem with authority figures and all the other clichés of the archetype. The token babe and token black guy are there to back him up.
After a couple of small fights, the monsters come back for a climactic battle. Meanwhile, the Admiral has an underling who wants to nuke the combat zone. Unfortunately, our heroes are in the middle of it ... on Manhatten island!
For all its problems, this low-budget knock-off is actually better than the original! Yes, dollar for dollar this effort gives better value for money than the Guillermo Del Toro movie.
It starts with a huge cloud of superheated water vapour, like in Independence Day . The twenty-somethings watch as something deadly trashes the city centre in the distance, like in Cloverfield . Finally, in the harsh light of day we get to see Giant CGI robots stomping people, like in Transformers
This is the first big Alien Invasion film in a long time (well, since Signs ) but it seems to be cobbled together from so many other films. It is competently done, but not exactly original.
Ten years later her husband (Bryan Cranston - Total Recall (2012) ) is a conspiracy theorist who thinks a gigantic Kaiju monster caused the tsunami. He loses his security clearance because he is clearly insane … However, it turns out that the Kaiju (AKA Gojiru, AKA God-Zilla) is real, and the US Military have been monitoring it for decades. Their own paranoid secrecy meant they ignored and blacklisted potentially the greatest scientist they could have recruited onto their team!
There is a far bigger threat to the world. Two other monsters are also on the loose. One looks like Cloverfield , while the other looks like the Alien Queen from Aliens . They are the male and female of a species, and they intend to breed. Unfortunately their species would be a super-predator, dominating the world. Worse, they will meet up in San Francisco, so just nuking them would be a bad idea. Not only would the bay area be rendered uninhabitable, but the San Andreas fault would dump most of the Western seaboard of the USA into the Pacific ocean. Only Gojira can save the world!
As well as the US military unit they also bring a British mercenary (Tom Hiddleston - Marvel Avengers ). Finally there is a war-protesting journalist - Brie Larson . She may seem like the token woman, and this film certainly fails the Bechdel test, but she actually has an important role in the story. Her role is a combination of the photographer (Jeff Bridges - True Grit (2010) ) and the beauty who bonds with Kong ( Jessica Lange ). All with no nudity but lots more explosions!
As depicted in the movie's trailer, the choppers have an apocalyptic run-in with Kong. However, this is only the setup for the main storyline. The survivors must get across the island to the pickup point.
There is an after-credits sequence that has a link with Godzilla (2014) . Yes, this is all setup for the third story in the series ... the ultimate crossover, next year's Kong versus Godzilla (2018) !
The villains' theory is that the monsters will bring balance to the world. What nobody realises is that Ghidora is an alien who usurps Godzilla's role as the rightful king of the monsters. Instead of using them to protect Earth, he wants to destroy it.
Our protagonists are Americans, trapped in Mexico and trying to get across the American border. Unfortunately the border area is now a no-man's land full of aliens that look like Giant Squids.
Thanks to imaginative SPFX the aliens, when they emerge, look more like jellyfish that glow in the dark.
Thankfully, there is no pretence of a phony romantic subplot. That kind of thing pervades action movies, which shoe-horn the token female character in as the hero's love interest. In this story, the girl is the boss's daughter and the man's job is to get her home or he will become unemployed.
The film introduces our heroes while they are at home for rest and recreation. Their home-town is Detroit, and they act like a street-gang out of Eight Mile. Then they get deployed in the desert. Helicopter travel, encounters with irate locals - this is like a Vietnam war movie. It seems evocative of Apocalypse Now ...
After fifty minutes of character development our heroes get sent on their big mission. These are not a bunch of stereotypical grunts that we expect to get killed off one at a time. They are well fleshed-out characters, and they are heavily armed. A fusilade of their 20mm shotguns and 40mm grenade-launchers can take down one of the massive alien creatures!
The unit runs into trouble inside the Infected Zone. First there is an ambush by insurgents. Then the survivors have to hike out, avoiding both the aliens and other humans. Luckily they meet Sofia Boutella .
The Apocalypse Now comparison gets even more apt. As the soldiers continue their journey, the mental stress mounts up to an almost unbearable level.
Eventually, Caesar (Andy Sirkis - King Kong 2005 ) falls foul of asshole neighbour David Hewlett ( Stargate Atlantis ). He winds up getting thrown into a primate detention centre run by American-accented Brits Brian Cox ( Manhunter, Troy ) and Draco Malfoy ( Harry Potter ). This is where the heartwarming family drama turns into a prison movie. Will Caesar outwit his captors, leading an ape revolt? Well, if you've seen the original or the trailer (or even the title!) then you'll know the answer.
This is far superior to Tim Burton 's reboot of the franchise. The CGI is good enough for Sirkis' performance to be mentioned as an award-worthy by critics. The plot works well, predictable as it may be. The cast is great, and tons of subtle references are thrown in.
Humans start moving back into the city of San Francisco. Gary Oldman ( Dark Knight Rises ) is in charge, reminiscent of John Malkovich’s character in Zombie Apocalypse comedy Warm Bodies . The humans need a power source to create electricity, because they have no supply of fuel for their generators. The wind-farms and solar panels are few and far between, so the only option is the hydro-electric dam in the forest ...
The humans try to make peace with Caesar and his clan. There are two major obstacles to this. Firstly, Oldman sends Kirk Acevedo ( 12 Monkeys ) who is the same gun-toting trigger-happy idiot he is in everything else. Seriously, this character thinks a six-shooter will make a difference when he is outnumbered a dozen to one!
The other problem is Koba, the scar-faced ape who was so memorable in the previous film. He is Caesar’s second in command. And what was the fate of the man Caesar was named after? Killed by people he trusted in a coup attempt ...
Caesar (Andy Sirkis - King Kong 2005 ) and a couple of his close friends set out on a vengeance quest. They ride their horses across a desolate landscape, which makes this film more than a little similar to a western. En route they pick up a couple of stragglers, a mute human girl and an unbalanced chimp named Bad Ape (Steve Zahn - Perfect Getaway ).
In the final act of the story, our protagonists find the secluded base of the crazy Special Forces Colonel. This is visually and thematically reminiscent of Apocalypse Now. In fact, there is an on-screen acknowledgement in the form of a graffetti scrawl that reads Ape-Pocalypse Now.
All in all, this is an excellent film that ties up the trilogy and yet can be enjoyed as a self-contained stand-alone story. It evokes the spirit of classic films, and does not fall short.
The premise is that Hud (TJ Thyne - Deadpool ) is videotaping an all-night party in NYC for his friends. When the city is attacked by an unknown monster, he keeps the camera rolling and captures the next few hours of events. The result is a Found Footage version of Godzilla . If one can accept the basic premise, the resulting film is quite enjoyable.
The party's host wants to go rescue his damsel in distress ( Odette Yustmann ). He is accompanied by his brother (Mike Vogel - Under the Dome ) and the brother's girlfriend ( Jessica Lucas ). Hud the cameraman also gets a love interest of sorts - Lizzy Caplan , playing the same kind of feisty girl she is usually associated with.
The unlikely crew trek across Manhattan, and get bumped off one at a time.
She wakes up in a prison cell, where she is held by a survivalist (John Goodman - ). He tells her that he will keep her safe, but that the world above them has been scene to an apocalyptic assault. Is the air really toxic due to an NBC attack, or is it all an exercise in gaslighting?
The weakest point of the story is the final Act. While the main body of the film is filled with incredible suspense, the climax is a series of explosions where each one tries to out-do the previous one.