2010s Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

Published on March 31st, 2011 | by Chris

1

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

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) Battle: Los Angeles (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
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Description

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 Information

Binding: Blu-ray
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Brand:
Manufacturer: Sony Pictures
Original Release Date:
Actors:
  • Aaron Eckhart
  • Michelle Rodriguez

Features

  • Factory sealed DVD

Reviews

Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My kinda movie! Over and over again!, July 18, 2016
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Battle Los Angles is one of my all time favorite movies. And being 56 yrs. old, and being female ,and ex-Army that's saying a lot! A whole lot! I do watch movies to be entertained and this movie is perfect for me. It's serious,fun,scary,bravery,honor and duty! All of which I hold in very high regard. All of the actors did an excellent job! This movie was exactly what it should have been. Being humans, we all have our own opinions, but honestly I never listen to the critics anymore. The few times I did in the past, put me in the mood to pull my hair out in frustration!!!! I believe they all must live in la la land and have no concept of actually just watching a movie with no ulterior motive such as taking a crap on it in the first 10 minutes. I think they have that as their standby plan before the movie even starts. That being said, I have watched this movie 12 times in 14 days! I love it that much! I've probably watched it at least 65 times in the last year alone. As to the special... Read more
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Black Hawk Down with aliens, June 7, 2012
By 
Topher Ray (Colorado Springs, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battle Los Angeles (Amazon Video)
Having served two combat tours in Iraq, I can pretty much vouch for this being an accurate war film. It was intense and realistic enough that it knocked on the door of the old PTSD, but it was awesome enough to keep me watching. Responses to previous critics: repeating phrases (move! move! , etc.) is common military practice to ensure everybody gets the message - there's no time for "sorry, what did you say?" in combat. And putting Starship Troopers or Independence Day in the same box as this movie is ludicrous - this movie followed a realistically depicted Marine unit repelling an invasion, while Starship Troopers' military was nothing but bad Hollywood cliche, and Independence Day's actual military battles were all completely unrealistic air strikes and most of the movie didn't involve combat of any sort. So this movie used a lot of standard tropes - big deal! They're standard because they sell movie tickets. This is an awesome movie for fans of real modern war flicks like Black... Read more
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Battle: Los Angeles (DVD), September 24, 2016
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This review is from: Battle: Los Angeles (DVD)
Very good action/sci-fi film. Aliens arrive on ships in the initial form of meteorites and their intent is to suck up all our water, killing us all along the way. That's where the military comes in. Thus begin very good battle scenes. The Marines have to go into the hot zone of Santa Monica to rescue civilians. Along for the ride is a battle green lieutenant (the leader of the troop), a battle seasoned staff sergeant (whom no one trusts and want along because his last mission went badly), and a typical but eclectic bunch of grunts. Some of the performances are quite good, including Aaron Eckhart as the staff sergeant, Noel Fisher as Lenihan, Will Rothhaar as Imlay, Gino Anthony Pesi as Stavrou and Adetokumboh M'Cormack as Adukwu.
The movie's weakness is a couple of corny dialogue scenes. Its strength is the battle scenes and the comraderie amongst the soldiers. I have to say that after the freeway scene I felt a little battle-weary. The effects are excellent but they... Read more
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Battle: Los Angeles (2011) Chris

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.

3.5


User Rating: 4.8 (1 votes)


About the Author

I've been watching war movies for probably 25 years now. Since December 2006 I've been sharing my habit and passion for these movies here on this site.



One Response to Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    Good review. I had much the same reaction. I found a lot of Western themes in it as well. You know, surrounded by the Indians in the fort, etc. I also agree the cliches were there, but not cringe-inducing. Any decent war movie should be celebrated – they are so rare these days. I felt the same way about the bus.

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