Review – Battle: Los Angeles
If aliens ever decide to invade planet Earth for real the human race is well prepared. Our weapons would be useless but over the years we’ve been taught important lessons from countless alien invasion films. Having trouble taking down a spaceship? Try flying a jet into the giant weapon thingy. Do the aliens have a clear advantage and are turning the human race into washing powder? Hide in the basement and ride it out until the common cold takes them down. Maybe you want to join the army and take down ET the old fashioned way? Your prayers have been answered with ‘Battle: Los Angeles’. In ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ the world is being invaded by aliens and every major city around the world has been overrun. Los Angeles stands as one of the final strongholds and Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) leads a platoon of troops to the frontline to stall the invasion. ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ tries to freshen up the alien invasion genre but ends up being a cliché war flick. The action throughout is good and it has some nice visual effects but the characters are bland military types, the dialogue is shoddy, it has the plotting of a shoot em’ up videogame and some disorientating handheld camera work.
The best thing about ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ is when the action is in full swing and director Jonathan Liebesman (Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) does a good job channelling his inner Michael Bay. Big gritty real time action explodes across the screen with the characters fighting their way out of some sticky situations. The downside of this is the overuse of handheld cameras which can be disorientating at times to the point of nausea. The visual effects and design of the aliens and their spacecraft are good but ripped off a little from the look of ‘District 9’ a comparison this film is sure to get a lot because it’s a little too familiar.
The plot is simple, ‘kill aliens’ and you can’t expect anymore than that and the characters are just as simple. Every character is your typical military type, the rookie, the hardened veteran a day away from retirement and the unproven leader who hasn’t seen any real combat. None of the characters are interesting enough to care about, they are nothing more than cannon fodder and the dialogue they spew out is nonsensical military jargon and bad motivational speeches. ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ is a very patriotic film and I can imagine American audiences cheering as the troops kick alien butt and in way the film plays as a big recruitment film for the U.S Army and I wouldn’t be surprised if sign up booths were set up outside cinemas. I’m all for being patriotic but at times it becomes too much and a lot of the film feels like ‘military porn’ with all the guns and ammo HOO HA!
‘Battle: Los Angeles’ nails the action but falters on everything else and the promise of doing something different with an alien invasion flick; when you break it down it’s just an average war film.
The Popcorn Junkie