The 5th Wave takes alien-attack flicks to a new low



By Steve Newton

Sci-fi action flicks about alien invasions are pretty hit-and-miss. For every kickass Edge of Tomorrow you’ll find a crappy Independence Day.

And then there’s The 5th Wave, based on Rick Yancey’s 2013 young-adult novel. It took three whole screenwriters to turn that book into a laughable pile of juvenile hokum.

 Chloë Grace Moretz stars as Cassie, a fiesty Ohio teen who we first see desperately sprinting through the woods clutching an assault rifle. Through flashbacks we learn that narrator Cassie’s already lost her beloved parents to the apocalypse, and is now on a mission to find her kid brother Sam (Zachary Arthur) while evading the aliens that have taken human form in the last of a five-step program for world domination. They’ve already completed the first four, which include knocking out all power, causing earthquakes and tsunamis, spreading avian flu, and other fun stuff. Now they’ve launched “the fifth wave”, occupying human bodies so they can infiltrate and eliminate pockets of resistance.

In a nod to/ripoff of John Carpenter’s They Live, you can only tell who’s an alien by peering through special lenses that reveal a squidlike critter inside the skull of a host. That’s kinda neat, but in The 5th Wave anything halfway decent gets wasted with a preposterous storyline that centres on a military commander (Liv Schreiber) who enlists little kids (like Sam) for intense combat training before throwing them into battle with the marauding aliens.

Throw in a clumsily handled, Twilight-style romance between Cassie and a superpowered alien/human hunk (Alex Roe) and the fact that Yancey’s book is the first in a trilogy makes you shudder at the franchise possibilities.

It’s disasters like this that make you welcome any conquering species, as long as they agree to vapourize Hollywood first.


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