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

5.0 out of 5 stars Brief with quotes, February 20, 2015
By 
Kelly Jeau G. Larson (Hilbert, WI United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Battle Los Angeles (Amazon Video)
It was almost like watching "Independence Day" from a different perspective. Add far more gritty WWII movie (e.g.The Green Berets from1968) and you have the combination that this film meets right there. Here is a quote from each film:

All right, Lockett. You wanna go there. Let's go there. I commanded men and men died. Kids. 19 years old. The best men I ever led. Do you think for a second I wouldn't rather trade places with them? I know you think I got my men killed. They're dead. I'm here. Like the punchline to some bad joke. You think I like that? Do you think a minute goes by that those faces aren't right here
[points to head]

President Thomas Whitmore: It's a fine line between standing behind a principle and hiding behind one. You can tolerate a little compromise, if you're actually managing to get something accomplished.

George Beckworth: Petersen, what was all that talk about the enemy building ladders and coffins?

Sgt... Read more
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like a wierd war?, June 7, 2015
By 
Olag Simonov (Cherryvale, KS, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Battle Los Angeles (Amazon Video)
This is a great piece of entertainment for regular guys and gals. They did it right; establishing the characters and the scenario, building excitement... It was all about the fight and there was plenty of that. Cliché moments? So what? None of them lasted long enough to register much on my "Oh, give me a break!" meter. Special effects were well done. There was at least one "Deep" moment in this movie. I guess depth is where you find it. Not Oscar material, true. For what the Oscars have become, I'd say that's a plus. I'd say this is better than "Battleship" which did peg my "Give me a break" meter on several occasions. That comes with the territory in movies like this. Different movies, same sort of theme. Go into this movie expecting a weird war and come out perfectly satisfied.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great movie. The critics who complain about "cliche" lines ..., July 18, 2015
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This review is from: Battle: Los Angeles (DVD)
This is a great movie. The critics who complain about "cliche" lines and such I am guessing have never once met people in the military and the infantry type in particular. You think the marines are out quoting shakespear while in battle? The dialogue is in fact perfect and generally reflects the type of dialogue you might find in a a real military unit. Some say too much bravado in the depiction of the marines. Have these critics ever met a marine? The action is great A++++. The story is great A++++ The acting is great. This is definitely one of the movies in my top 20 favorites. If you are a sci fi fan, or a war movie fan you will love this. If you are both as I am, you will be in heaven. Great movie that was recognized as such by the audiences who attended, and had snooty critics fall down on the job big time.
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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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