Published on March 31st, 2011 | by Chris1
Battle: Los Angeles (2011)
Take equal parts Black Hawk Down and Cloverfield, mix in elements from District 9, Aliens, War of the Worlds, The Phantom Menace, any FPS video game, and Independence Day, and you get this years sci-fi war movie, Battle: Los Angeles.
Look, I actually liked this movie. Yeah, I did. It has its flaws, but overall its a fun ride, if you don't think too hard.
Our main character, Staff Sgt. Nance (Aaron Eckhart) is on the edge of finally getting out of the Marine Corps, when out of nowhere, Earth is invaded by an unknown alien military force. He's thrown back in the mix, helping newbie 2nd Lt. Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) and the rest of his squad get some trapped civilians out of the soon-to-be-destroyed bombing area, while the rest of his platoon holds the line. They pick up some stragglers, including Air Force Tech Sgt. Santos (Michelle Rodriguez), who seems to be somewhat annoyed at being here.
Predictably (and yes, a lot of this film is completely predictable) its not quite so simple. They're pinned down and escape several times, several of his men bite the big one, but in the end the good guys prevail. I won't spoil the details, but suffice to say it reminded me of the end of The Phantom Menace just a tad.
I really have to give a nod to the creators for not going the obvious route and laying out the alien invasion force for all to see. Much like Cloverfield, the agressors remain in a mysterious state of unknown at first. All we get are little spastic glimpses here and there, revealing more as the movie progresses. A nice touch, as we sort of feel like the squad, not knowing what exactly we're dealing with. Unfortunately when we do get a complete look at them, they're not really all that creative in design. The look falls somewhere between District 9 and Transformers. Eh, I can let that go I suppose.
The combat scenes are pretty intense for a PG-13 effort. Obviously, due to the rating, you're not going to get any uber-realistic combat gore here, and that's OK, too. There are plenty of cliches and attempts at sentiment, but none of them really go too far over the top to be annoying.
But those flaws I spoke of, yeah there are a few. Notably the pacing drags out quite a bit towards the end, just before the big finale. The "calm before the storm" gets a little too calm for me. And what's with the big orange bus thing? I'm sorry, but if that's me, I'm not going to get on board a giant bright orange moving target. Sorry! I'm all for battlefield improv, but whoa!
And where's the armor and artillery? There's a brief scene with a mortar up front, and some arty thrown in at the end, but for the most part they'd have you believe that its just not there. Plenty of helicopters, though. The lack of air support is suitably (if predictably) explained away, but not the armor situation.
Also unfortunate is the falling into the "video game" mode of introducing bigger-and-badder alien "bosses" to conquer as the movie rolls on.... If there's not a B:LA themed FPS out there already, (I don't follow such things) there should be.
This could have easily been turned into a more Black Hawk Down-like effort by leaving out the civilians, turning up the intensity and really pouring it on. In a way I'm glad they didn't. It makes for a satisfying rainy Saturday-afternoon "root for the good guys" type of war movie, which we haven't seen in a while.
I'm handing out a very hesitant 7/10. Which seems both high and low to me, but as awesomely fun as this movie is, its not destined for any awards.
Battle: Los Angeles (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
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Witness the end of civilization unfold as hostile alien invaders attack the planet. As people everywhere watch the world’s great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected...
DVD InformationBinding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Original Release Date:
- Aaron Eckhart
- Michelle Rodriguez
- Factory sealed DVD
Summary: It makes for a satisfying rainy Saturday-afternoon "root for the good guys" type of war movie, which we haven't seen in a while.