If film has taught us anything, it's that if you live in the US you just aren't safe from global invasion from beings from another planet. If you live in the UK, France or Tokyo, you aren't that safe either but you and your country's plight will only get a mention over whatever form of media still exists at the time - TV or radio before all communications are destroyed by the invaders.
Well, it's time to relax because now everywhere is in danger, starting with Russia! Specifically Moscow. But never fear, because America will send its finest to help with the retaliation... two wanna-be software developer millionaires no less!
Originally planned to be based in the US, the influence and words of producer Bekmambetov relocated it to his beloved Moscow. Bearing in mind this is the man who gave us the likes of Night Watch, Day Watch and Wanted, it's a shame his words didn't extend to the script as well. Even the establishing shots of the Russian city seem to be more concerned in showing you the Western influence there - Starbucks, McDonald's - rather than the likes of the recent Mission: Impossible which showed the city off far better in it's 15 minute sequence than the whole running time of The Darkest Hour and they blew up the Kremlin in that one!
However, that's the not the major flaw with the film. Its the incoherency regarding the logic and the swing from super intelligence to dumbness of the central characters that stops you from suspending disbelief and therefore rooting for them to survive. The two American "heroes" who step up and take charge and their "just met/possible love interest" girls seem to be able to clock on to the alien energy detection techniques very really on but then they continue to make decisions that would make busty blonde's in slasher movies embarrassed.
What's a good and sensible move is the fact that the invasion is never explained in-depth and is left to us and the characters to guess at the aliens motives etc but then any positive actions are then squashed by the last 10 minutes of the film. It seems that action sequences that were destined for the film are tacked on at the end so that they can be included in the final product when they would have made more sense being placed in the initial run across the ruins of Moscow. At least the writers and director have the balls to not be so predictable when it comes to who survives and who doesn't.
A missed opportunity and an over-optimistic ending which looks like it's expecting a sequel but which will never come to fruition, here's hoping that Bekmambetov gets behind the camera and finishes off his Watch trilogy rather than producing below-parr popcorn fodder.
UK release date: 13.01.12