Chris Pratt’s got to kill a bunch of aliens in the future.
I actually had no plans to see this film for a while because the advertisements had made me think it was going to be forgettably generic. However, I was fortunately told that it was better than I expected so I checked it out and was pleasantly surprised. While the premise is a bit ridiculous, the film plays it straight enough and adds enough believability to many of the characters that it actually ends up working. Also, the action sequences are pretty solid and the creature designs, while not groundbreaking, are actually shown in full lighting as opposed to partially shadowed or obscured like many of these films, making the effort put into them much more obvious.
The film starts with former Green Beret and current teacher Dan Forrester (Pratt) witnessing a group of time travelers from the future interrupt the World Cup. The travelers reveal they are soldiers from the future where humanity has been driven to near extinction by aliens called “whitespikes.” The aliens are difficult to kill and reproduce extremely quickly. Thanks to a timegate that allows travel between 2022 and 2051, the future can gain reinforcements from people in the present, provided that they are people who would be dead before the time they travel to in order to avoid paradoxes. People are quickly drafted from around the world to fight for seven day stints, but the mortality rate is high. Forrester is eventually drafted, much to his wife Emmy’s (Betty Gilpin) and daughter Muri’s (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) chagrin. He travels to the future along with kill-lover Dorian (Edwin Hodge) and scientist Charlie (Sam Richardson) and finds himself involved in a plan by one of the future colonels (Yvonne Strahovski) to save the human race.
Admittedly, the premise of people from the past being drafted to the future is kind of cool, although they never explain why, even if the people drafted might die before 2051, it doesn’t create a paradox to kill them earlier. Fortunately, the movie kind of just glosses over that with the fact that the “jumplink” doesn’t really allow for traditional time travel, instead connecting two timelines (as to why that doesn’t resolve the paradox of meeting yourself, I don’t know). But enough about that, the movie’s main strengths are blowing aliens the hell up. The action sequences are pretty solid and they have just enough humor mixed in to keep the apocalypse from being too overwhelming.
The other surprising strength of the film is in how it portrays humanity reacting to certain doom in the future: Most of the world stops caring quickly. Less than a year in and almost everyone is just using the eventual death of humanity as an excuse to be dicks rather than, say, trying to prevent said doom. It’s horribly accurate and accurately horrible.
Overall, solid movie. Give it a try.