Go for the big guns!

I recently saw some clips from a couple different sci-fi movies depicting human soldiers in combat against aliens. In one they were up against alien robots, and the other against swarms of huge alien bugs. In both cases they were seriously out-matched. They could empty magazine after magazine into these aliens, seemingly to no effect (unless it’s a main character being threatened, and then it would only take a dozen rounds or so).

The thing that bothers me is that in neither case were the humans caught off guard. They had fought these aliens before. They were specially trained to fight these aliens.

So why were they so poorly equipped to do so?

In both cases they were eventually able to call in heavier firepower or air support that was finally equal to the task. But I have to wonder, if that’s what’s proven to work, don’t they just lead with that?

Yeah, I know. It’s a movie, gotta heighten the drama, can’t have it be too easy. But I’ve seen it done well. I’ve seen movies where the humans’ weapons are equal to the task under normal circumstances, but the aliens are able to take advantage of surprise, terrain, and/or superior numbers. That’s entirely different from firing hundreds of rounds at a single creature to no effect. You can have your humans be competent and still make things difficult. And frankly, the movies that do are generally acknowledged as some of the best military sci-fi movies of all time.

I can see a first-contact situation where the humans encounter aliens with no idea what to expect. But in cases where they’ve been fighting these aliens for a while there’s no excuse for them to show up without their best stuff. If the machine guns don’t work so well and the grenades do, forget the guns, go for the grenades. If air power is what works, put a couple of marines on the ground with laser target-finders and bomb the snot out of them. You don’t send in a company of troops with weapons that won’t do the job without a really, really good reason.

Or maybe it’s just me.


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