THE 5TH WAVE (2016)

Genre: Sci-Fi/Thriller
Director: J Blakeson
Cast: Chloë Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Ron Livingston, Liev Schreiber, Maria Bello, Maika Monroe, Maggie Siff
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: PG13 (Violence and Brief Coarse Language)
Released By: Sony Pictures Releasing International
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 14 January 2016

Synopsis: In the new film The 5th Wave, four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth decimated. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz) is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal 5th wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope - if she can only trust him.

Movie Review:

With the conclusion of lucrative franchises such as Twilight, The Hunger Games and the impending end to Divergent, Sony has finally jumped onto the YA adaptations bandwagon by releasing The 5th Wave into theaters this week without an advance critics screening.     

You might think this is a bad omen. After all, bad or good marketing vibes are still considered as marketing. Surprise.. Surprise.. even though The 5th Wave is not at the same level of the much-acclaimed Hunger Games, it remains for much of the running time a captivating and thrilling watch.

Based on a trilogy of books by American author Rick Yancey, the protagonist of the movie is Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz), a teenager living in Ohio whose ordinary life is altered after a mysterious alien invasion starts killing every humans on earth. The first wave involved a deadly EMP wave, the second involved massive tsunamis and the third, a deadly plague. Those that survived await the fourth and fifth wave. Aliens dubbed ‘the others’ took on human forms and start massacring every living human except children. When the army takes Cassie’s younger brother Sam away to a refugee camp, Cassie must try all means to get back to Sam even if it means risking being shot by ‘the others’ and flying drones. 

Let’s face it whether it’s on the small screen or the silver screen; it is always aliens or zombies roaming around in a deserted post-apocalypse world. The 5th Wave very much toys and revolves with the same idea and element. In short, mankind is basically doomed. Fortunately, director J. Blakeson knows how to package and tell a familiar story in an entertaining way and as an added bonus, he has a competent actress in the form of Chloe “Hit Girl” Grace Moretz onboard.

With the tragic loss of her parents, Chloe Grace Moretz is equally vulnerable and tough as Cassie. The opening sequence is so intense that it effortlessly sets the tone of the movie. No doubt, Chloe is such a consummate performer, her acting so flawless that you will almost forgive her stint in the crappy romantic weepie If I Stay. Just like Katniss can’t do without Peeta and Gale, Cassie has the help of Evan Walker (Alex Roe), a boy who lived on a farm and her high school crush, Ben Parish (Nick Robinson from Jurassic World) to assist her in fighting her way to Sam. The 5th Wave has a lot in common with The Hunger Games. The main hero is female, caught between two guys and is always ready to step up to protect her younger sibling. Different universe, same character.

Of course, The 5th Wave won’t win any awards for originality and I’m definitely not saying Yancey is plagiarizing somebody else's work. It is simply a tough act to balance formula and creativity nowadays. In between all the survivalism and action, there are some contrived romantic scenes between Cassie and Evan; but you have to bear in mind this is ultimately based on a teen-centric material. Veterans Liev Schreiber (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Maria Bello (A History of Violence) appear as shady military personnel. As to what these two are up to, the less you know, the better.

Despite familiar characterizations, The 5th Wave is a glossy, polished product that won’t actually stand out in the overcrowded dystopian fantasy genre but warrant for a satisfying weekday viewing. Satisfying meaning the performance and pacing is great with one obvious gripe, you have to pray for two more sequels to know the outcome of Cassie’s fate (and who she chooses in the end if you are the nosy sort). 

Movie Rating:

(Familiar yet adequate for casual viewing)

Review by Linus Tee


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