The blurb is a little misleading. First off, the special-ops team isn’t dispatched to fight supernatural beings. The spec-ops bubbas are already in the country of Moldova fighting against an insurgency for whatever blah-blah reason (doesn’t matter). They are all equipped with a high-tech set of goggles that are supposed to feed them information about their surroundings kind of like a HUD (Heads Up Display) you would see in a first-person shooter video game. As the spec-ops dudes are conducting their operations, they are picking up odd anomalies in their displays, fuzzy images that seem to move of their own accord, which then subsequently attack them, killing the operators instantly upon touch.
The lead engineer of the specialized goggles is called to the front lines to give his opinion on what’s happening. Things go from bad to worse as the “anomalies” become more aggressive and begin to spread throughout the city, attacking friend and foe alike.
The entire first half of the movie felt very reminiscent of Aliens. You had your specialist (the lead engineer = Sigourney Weaver’s character), your battle-hardened military unit (spec-ops bubbas = Colonial Space Marines), your company rep (in this case a CIA Agent = the Weyland Yutani Company Man), and even armored assault vehicles. They move in, get their ass handed to them, and even run into a Newt equivalent. I halfway expected one of the spec-ops dudes to say that they would have to nuke it from orbit.
Now don’t get me wrong, this isn't’ a bad thing. I love the movie, Aliens. It’s one of my favorites, so to have something conjure up that feeling was a good thing. Things take a turn as the movie moves forward, even bringing about an interesting twist at the end. Overall, I’d give this movie a 3.5/5.
Now, onto the spoiler review…
I enjoyed the twist. Leading all the way up to the climax, the movie feeds you enough information to make you think that the anomalies are really angry spirits of the dead. They even threw in a fun effect of iron slowing them down. It made me think back to different lore I’ve read and seen about spirits being harmed by iron. There is a great scene where the spec-ops team is hiding out in an abandoned factory which is ringed by a line of iron shavings. The anomalies try to move past it, but get stuck and are unable to pass.
Where the movie begins to lose me, is near the end, where the lead engineer guy figures out that the anomalies aren’t spirits, rather some sort of man-made energy (i.e. a man-made weapon…which again harkens back to Aliens because the aliens are supposed to be a weapon that got out of hand). They track down the source of the things and then we get into a montage of the lead engineer and everyone rigging up energy weapons to fight them with “whatever was scavenged at the base.” The weapons he “rigs” up look pretty damn professional, they all look the same, and they all function perfectly. They don’t even test the weapons before they go head-to-head with the energy creatures. I kind of had to roll my eyes at that part and just go along with everything.
Turns out that the anomalies were made as weapons, but it begs the question, how did the opposition plan on utilizing them? It didn’t seem like there was any way to control them on the battlefield. In fact, they broke out and started killing everyone. I get the whole symbolism of creating a super weapon and then dealing with the consequences of your actions…but I can’t imagine that they would have been so careless. Perhaps I missed something.
I also thought the fact that they had to harvest real people to make each weapon was kind of interesting. In a way, they really were ghosts or spirits. The craziness of the ending aside, it was still a good flick. Check it out if you have a couple hours to spare.