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Monday, July 16, 2012


A series of blindingly bright lights appear all over Los Angeles, mesmerizing the citizens of the city while luring them to an uncertain fate in this sci-fi thriller from sibling filmmakers Greg and Colin Strause. As speculation regarding the origin of the mysterious lights runs rampant, a Los Angeles entrepreneur (Donald Faison), his best friend, Jarrod (Eric Balfour), and Jarrod's frightened girlfriend (Scottie Thompson) struggle to resist temptation as they seek out the source of the luminous threat. Jason Buchanan, Rovi

 Review in a Hurry: Acclaimed special-effects duo Greg and Colin Strause follow up their decidedly unclaimed directorial debut (Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem) with a second space-creature feature about an alien invasion of Los Angeles.

A penthouse would be the best vantage point to watch the apocalypse, but perhaps not the nicest to be actually trapped inside, as our small band of generic characters quickly finds.

What little back story the characters get involves out-of-towner Jarrod (Eric Balfour) and his successful childhood friend Terry (Donald Faison). They seem to be musicians, but then later it seems as though Terry wants to hire Jarrod as a special effects artist? Either way doesn't matter much, since this isn't one of those movies where a character's hidden talent saves the day later. That would be too coherent a plot point.

Besides, the next day, the Independence Day/Matrix hybrid aliens come. Their multi-tiered invasion involves sending down blue, swirling lights, which briefly zombify anyone who looks at them, luring them into tractor beams up to the mother ships.

Meanwhile, hovering squid critters and large elephant/crab hybrid things capture stray humans the old-fashioned way...with tentacles.

But their plan has a flaw—if someone looks at the lights but gets tackled and prevented from entering the tractor beam, enough of the zombification remains inside them to enable super-strength, or something. They should have worked out that little kink first.

Not to mention, the aliens are immune to nuclear weapons, but can be hurt by guns and bazookas. This is probably because the U.S. military opts to attack them with the world's worst nuke, one that seemingly has zero fallout or electromagnetic pulse, and leaves nearby skyscrapers standing.

All of this is covered by TV news cameras, even though nobody is left to operate them. Guess they just point themselves at the action.

The visuals are very cool, and plentiful, save for the brothers' overuse of cheesy slo-mo. For a movie on a $10 million budget, it delivers more and better bangs for the buck than many blockbusters ten times the price. It's just a shame they couldn't find actors who deliver equal efficiency. Or script doctors, for that matter.

Directed by  Brothers Strause
Produced by  Brothers Strause
                      Kristian Andresen
                      Liam O'Donnell
                      Brett Ratner
Written by    Joshua Cordes
                    Liam O'Donnell
Starring          Eric Balfour
                      Scottie Thompson
                      Brittany Daniel
                      Donald Faison
                      David Zayas
                      Crystal Reed
Studio   Universal Pictures
Release date   November 12, 2010

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