The 5th Wave (3 stars)

The 5th Wave

Serviceable YA actioner, with Chloë Grace Moretz and Maika Monroe amongst the ass-kickers

After Kick-Ass and The Equalizer, Chloë Grace Moretz appears to be the go-to girl for gun-wielding teenage action heroines. She fits snugly into this serviceable YA flick about an alien invasion, in which she plays ordinary gal Cassie. ‘When you’re in high school,’ she tells us, ‘just about everything feels like the end of the world.’ But her days of mooning over school hottie Ben (Jurassic World’s Nick Robinson) are soon over when an extraterrestrial craft looms ominously into view.

Tidal waves and a deadly virus follow, wiping out most of the population and, despite the arrival of a military unit commanded by Liev Schreiber, further chaos ensues. Cassie finds herself orphaned and separated from her younger brother Sam (Zackary Arthur), who has been shipped off to a military compound to join other youngsters in fighting the alien hoards. The creatures, they’re told, have taken over some humans – making them indistinguishable.

Adapted from the Rick Yancey novel by a trio of respected screenwriters – Lost's Jeff Pinkner, Erin Brockovich’s Susannah Grant and A Beautiful Mind’s Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman – the efficient script hides its secrets well, with Moretz an ever-watchable presence. Directed by J Blakeson, who made the credible British thriller The Disappearance of Alice Creed, it’s primarily designed for teenage girls and features several laughably adolescent moments, as Cassie hooks up with fellow six-pack sporting survivor Evan (Alex Roe), if only so she can watch him chopping wood and bathing in the lake.

On a more serious note, the film does perpetuate images of kids with guns – hardly something that should be applauded, but it’s no different to many YA movies in that respect. Adding to its charms, It Follows’ Maika Monroe plays an emo butt-kicker named Ringer. ‘Keep staring at my ass and I’ll rip your throat out,’ she roars. Delightful.

General release from Fri 22 Jan.

The 5th Wave

  • 3 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 1h 52min
  • 15
  • Directed by: J. Blakeson
  • Cast: Chloe Grace Mortez, Susannah Grant, Liev Schreiber, Maika Monroe
  • UK release: 22 January 2016

When aliens wipe out most of life on Earth, ordinary high school gal Cassie (Moretz) is forced to get herself a big gun and fight for her life. Serviceable YA action film based on Rick Yancey's novel, with some laughably adolescent moments; still, Moretz is as watchable as ever.