Battle: Los Angeles – Review
I wiggled myself in between two tall hairy guys with glasses at the long line for the midnight showing of Battle: Los Angeles Thursday night. I was the only other girl in line apart from the scary looking girl at the front who looked pissed off at her boyfriend who had decided to arrive 1 hour early. It had been awhile since I had decided to come to a midnight showing of a movie. The last two movies I had watched at midnight were a bust. One was ruined by a noisy crowd and a thunderstorm outside the theater causing the lights to go on and off. The movie? The Dark Knight. The next weekend The X-Files I Want to Believe was going to start and I begged a friend to go with me to the midnight showing, convincing him to arrive 2 hours early with me because I was sure it was going to be a full house of x-philes eager to devour the latest in the Mulder and Scully mythology. A few hours later me, my friend and about 10 other people left the theater confused, exhausted and disappointed.
So here I was now. Ready for Battle: Los Angeles. And not sure what to expect but I was super excited. The last movie I saw that featured aliens on Earth was District 9 (awesome!) and I hadn’t heard anything, good or bad, about Battle: Los Angeles so far.
The movie follows a Staff Sergeant by the name of Nantz and group of Marines making their way through the alien infested streets of Los Angeles with nothing more than their guns, their wits and well their balls… Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is just on the verge of dropping his duties and retiring from the Marines for good when this whole shebang goes down. Upon placing his retirement papers upon the desk of his superior officer and friend, the alien invasion starts to become evident. We get a sense of what is going on in the around us from radio broadcasts and CNN reports that play in the background. At this point it is only the fear of tiny meteors that have just started to scatter and make their way to Earth.
Fortunately for us, our military and scientists are not that stupid. After the threat becomes serious enough to start involving military personnel and evacuating entire cities, Nantz is forced back to work. “All hands on deck.” His reputation proceeds him as we come to understand when his newly assigned unit start to talk behind his back. Apparently, he was involved in some sort of military operation overseas where he was forced to leave men behind to save himself. We get the idea that he not too proud of that at the start of the film and it becomes more and more apparent as the film goes on.
The trailer of Battle: Los Angeles really teased us showing us how close the aliens get to the California beaches but the film takes it to the next level. Not only do we see LA’s beaches being totally devastated but the destruction comes full force onto land and into homes. This is where we really get the idea that these aliens are not “of peace”.
Nantz is put back on duty under a 2nd Lieutenant by the name of William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez). He is younger than Nantz and a little less sure of himself than Nantz shows to be by his attitude. It seems like he feels he has to prove himself by the way he carries himself about but he immediately calls Nantz out about what happened on Nantz’s previous tours overseas.
Their assignment is to evacuate a group of civilians and residents from an overrun Santa Monica and to save them from the threat of incoming meteors. The soldiers arrive at a police station where they are then told that they will have 3 hours to clear the area and return to their base before the military starts to bomb certain parts of Los Angeles in effort to contain the threat. I really liked the movie about 10x more when Michelle Rodriguez joined the soldiers as an Air Force Tech. Sergeant but that is only because I am a huge Lost fan. However, I think she did a really excellent job as support for the two main actors, Erkhart and Martinez. I really wish she had more lines in the movie and had more action scenes but I digress…
The whole movie is basically explosion after explosion, hoorah after hoorah. There is really no down time here; even the downtime is intense. It is not the smartest sci-fi. We don’t get a lot of information about the alien invaders themselves. Basically just that they are the bad guys and we are the good guys so our mission is to annihilate them just like any old American war movie we’ve seen before. The fact that the flying space ships are the bad guys is the only sci-fi in the movie. There is however, almost like an afterthought, a scene in the movie where they do try to figure out information about the aliens. They discover the best way to kill them and they figure out why they are on Earth in the first place, which is interesting but not something new or innovative.
Is it entertaining? Yes I would say that it is entertaining. Should you spend $10 to go see it at a movie theater? I’m going to leave that up to you. If you are into everything sci-fi and are expecting to digest tiny details about spaceships, classes of aliens, weaponry… this movie is probably not going to satisfy you. However, if you can watch this movie and take it for what it is- An American war movie with sci-fi elements and LOADS OF ACTION- you will be completely satisfied and you should probably watch it in the movie theaters. Otherwise, wait for Netflix or RedBox.