Everything seems like the end of the world when you’re a teenager, The 5th Wave’s narrator and central figure Cassie Sullivan (Chloë Grace Moretz) observes on her way to soccer practice.
And then aliens show up and things get serious.
Based on Rick Yancey’s three-part young adult series, The 5th Wave makes no secret of its lust to pick up from The Hunger Games and horn in on some of that dystopian Divergent teen love.
The first 20 minutes or so shows promise, as Cassie outruns the successive waves of torment the aliens, now called The Others, blast Earth with in an effort to exterminate the population.
Separated from home and family, her younger brother sent off to a camp to be trained for an alien spotting and fighting force of kid commandos, Cassie makes a brutal decision that shows her teen days are well behind her.
The idea of training child soldiers to wipe out the invaders, who are dealing with the remaining population by going creepily undercover, has some story appeal but the predictable script doesn’t hold up. Every plot point from the Katniss Everdeen playbook shows up. There’s the romance triangle with Nick Robinson as her school crush and Alex Roe as the older hunk, who reinforces his appeal by stripping off for a swim. And then there are the deceitful adults with heinous agendas.
Liev Schreiber and Maria Bello get the job done as U.S. army Col. Vosch and Sgt. Reznik, who are determined to train up and squeeze loyalty out of the new kid recruits.
We’d like to see a lot more of Maika Monroe’s teen solider Ringer, an ass-kicking feminist who has a fondness for chess and no patience with fools. She makes Cassie’s perfect blond tresses and pouts seem somewhat ridiculous.