Battle: Los Angeles (2011) – A Review

Battle Los Angeles Aaron Eckhart

The planet has a major problem when an alien invasion begins destroying Earth’s major cities. Bombarding the landscape with alien bombs, turning buildings into rubble and leaving us humans with nothing else to do but run for cover and with little hope of defeating them.

Fortunately, the U.S. Marines deploy the gearing up for retirement Staff Sergent Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) and a platoon of cliche-heavy grunts to lend a hand and kick some alien ass.

Yeah, that’s about the extent of this film.

Battle: Los Angles tries to depict an alien invasion story in a more realistic fashion presenting it more as a war film than a sci-fi spectacle. Unfortunately, it gets tiring very fast. The film uses the shaky cam, documentary handheld style to make us feel like we’re right there with this unit of Marines trying to survive while avoiding being creamed by these alien invaders, but this device doesn’t add any more tension to the scenes than if it was filmed in a more polished looking way.

There are plenty of explosions and gunfire, but because of the handheld filming it all got too jarring and at a certain point just annoying to watch. I can understand what the film was trying to do, but the shaky presentation wore out its welcome really fast for me

Even worse though is the pile of war movie cliches and characters the film begins to stack up.  Taking breaths between the loud action, the film tries to get serious with – the solider about to get married, saving the little boy, the pompous inexperienced leader, the virgin soldier, Eckhart’s guilt having gotten past soldiers he led killed, clunky sacrifice scenes and the required inspiring speeches that are meant to sway even the most hardened members of the team. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and yawn.

Oh, and the aliens themselves aren’t even interesting.

The one good thing I can say about the film is Eckhart, who does try to sell this and comes off pretty good. But I can’t help but wonder what made him want to do this movie in the first place.


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