One day everything was fine, then a huge, menacing alien craft began floating over the Earth. Before there was even time to speculate what "the Others" might want, a giant EMP blast took out all of the power and technology across the world. That was the 1st Wave. The 2nd Wave soon followed with massive earthquakes causing deadly tsunamis across the world and millions died. The 3rd Wave was an amped-up avian flu which wiped out approximately 97% of the population. The 4th Wave occurred when the Others began appearing on the Earth as average humans, sent to kill the remaining human survivors. Those who have managed to survive up until this point are just fearfully waiting to discover what new horror The 5th Wave might bring.
Cassie Sullivan, her little brother Sammy (Zackary Arthur), her dad Oliver (Ron Sullivan (Office Space), and her mom Lisa (Maggie Siff) are struggling with the new reality of life on Earth. While at a survivor refuge with her family, the US Army steps in, led by Col. Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and announces they are here to help and will be taking all of the children to an army base for their safety. Unfortunately, Cassie becomes separated from Sammy when she goes back for his beloved toy, and she is left to fend for herself, while Sammy is taken to the base.
Sammy and the other children soon realize that they are being drafted by the army as trained resistance against the Others, and they now answer to tough-as-nails Sgt. Reznik (Maria Bello). Sammy is soon placed in Squad 53, led by Ben Parish AKA Zombie (Nick Robinson), who just so happens to be Cassie's high school crush. Luckily, Zombie takes a liking to the floundering kid, and takes Sammy under his wing. Not a bad thing, since a lot of the kids are pretty scary, including Ringer (Maika Monroe), an unpredictable new addition to the squad. With their specialized headgear and goggles, the kids are able to easily distinguish between regular people and the Others disguised as what appears to be a normal human... and can then kill them.
Meanwhile, on her own and with only her father's pistol as protection, Cassie soon finds herself a shooter's target, but she is rescued and patched up by a ridiculously handsome guy named Evan Walker (Alex Roe). As she starts to let her guard down, she realizes that Evan might not have been 100% truthful with her and she begins to suspect his intentions. Even as she begins to fall for him, she realizes she must stop at nothing to save her little brother, and if Evan is willing to help, she'll take him up on it. But will they get there before young Sammy is sent out with Squad 53 to hunt the Others?
The 5th Wave is a good action flick and I enjoyed it, but it didn't keep me on the edge of my seat, quite like other disaster films like 2012 have. The acting is good and it felt a touch like Ender's Game with the child soldiers, but without the same intensity. It does come to a satisfying conclusion, but it also leaves a few loose ends, so perhaps a sequel is coming, since there are several books in the series.
The 5th Wave is chock full of special features, a good many of them exclusive to the Blu-ray version. These include deleted scenes, a gag reel, commentary with Director J Blakeson and Chloe Grace Moretz, featurettes on creating the world of The 5th Wave, behind the scenes, and the training the kids had to go through to prepare themselves. There's a small featurette called The 5th Wave Survival Guide, which felt like a webisode series, but was enjoyable to watch, plus a really cute featurette where Sammy/Zackary Arthur interviews different crew members about their jobs on set, since he wants to go into filmmaking. This one actually had some really great info in it and was more than just showing off the cute little child actor.
Personally, I am a big fan of disaster movies and shows like The Walking Dead, where people are forced to survive in post-apocalyptic situations, but The 5th Wave just felt a bit too YA to me and I just didn't enthusiastically love it. That said, it's a fun popcorn action flick and is worth checking out.