Battle: Los Angeles
Title: Battle: Los Angeles
Directors: Jonathan Liebesman
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan
“ Stick to the original alien invasion movies of Spielberg and Emmerich for your sci-fi fix. But if you’re after some modern warfare you could do worse than playing any of the Call of Duty video-games. “
We’ve seen The White House blown up, New York trampled by a giant beast from who-knows where, martians bowling on Easter Island, LA destroyed by light emitting E.Ts and have had two War of The Worlds, is there anything Battle: Los Angeles can do to add to alien invasion movies?
Meteors start to fall from the sky all across the world, including the LA coastline. The US Marines are geared up to evacuate all the civilians. But when it becomes apparent that these aren’t just rocks from space but an alien invasion fleet after more than just a close encounter. In a matter of hours the entire world finds itself in a battle for survival. A small platoon are thrown right into the centre of the action in an attempt to rescue people from a police station. En-route their numbers are significantly reduced but when they reach the station they only find a handful of survivors and their extraction does not go as planned. The clock is ticking for the group with only three hours for them to make their way out of the infested city before a bomb is set to strike and hopefully turn the tide of the war.
War, as we all know, is good for absolutely nothing. However war movies are good for high action, loud explosions, gung-ho flag waving and all the standard character types expected from the genre. We have a Staff Sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) set for retirement following a previous mission gone bad. A young fresh out of officer training Lieutenant (Ramon Rodriguez) struggling to lead when all hell breaks loose. Not to mention, rookies, husbands to be, fathers to be and a hard as nails female soldier – which can only ever be played by Michelle Rodriguez – apparently.
Throughout watching this film many questions struck me. How can the military not think space invaders would have flying vehicles? Why is it critical that LA doesn’t fall after all the other major cities have been lost? But the biggest was how can a film with such a high concept fail on every level?
Its surprising how much time is spent establishing characters considering how utterly one dimension they all are. On-screen titles may inform us their names but once they are in the midst of battle its very hard to tell who is who when they’re all in full gear and the camera fails to stay still long enough. It would have been easier if they’d had an on-screen icon for each character, putting an X next to them the instant they’re killed in action. Seeing as most of them are simply alien cannon fodder they could have just been Dead Meat, First Act Casualty, Final Reel Hero, etc. Even Eckhart’s too old for this stuff Sergeant isn’t wholly original but at least has a shade more depth, mainly down to the actor carrying the movie.
The film basically boils down to a mix of Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbour, Aliens and Independence Day, except they’ve extracted the worst elements from each flick. Adding a sub-Paul Greengrass style shaky-cam does not make action sequences any better, it just creates nausea. The script is laughable, it lacks logic and takes itself far too seriously. Current computer games have significantly better stories and characters in them.
Battle: LA is exactly what the brilliant District 9 and Monsters aren’t. A brainless, dumb actioner with little else to offer aside from some impressive visual effects. A blink and you’ll miss it glimpse of the alien grunts helping an injured comrade hints at there being more to them but rather than focus on this they are treated like a faceless enemy with not a single redeeming feature. I suspect a franchise was planned but can only hope that this doesn’t happen no matter how much I would like to see Battle: Milton Keynes. The best thing you can say about this flick is its better than Skyline, but only just.
In conclusion, stick to the original alien invasion movies of Spielberg and Emmerich for your sci-fi fix. But if you’re after some modern warfare you could do worse than playing any of the Call of Duty video-games.
Battle: Los Angeles MOVIE REVIEW