Reviews

Battle: Los Angeles

3

Fight them on the beaches, dude...

Battle Los Angeles review

The enemy might have changed but the clichés remain the same in Battle: Los Angeles, an Independence Day/Starship Troopers/Cloverfield mash-up that shoots this year's alien invasion from the PoV of the poor grunts on the front line.

Locked and loaded from the off with explosions, fire-fights and close quarters combat, Jonathan Liebesman's film has a full clip of eye-singeing, ear-battering mayhem that should sate sci-fi junkies after a quick visceral fix.

Yet it has a couple of dummy rounds as well: flatpack characters, stock dilemmas and dialogue so cornball you are only too happy to see it drowned out by heavy artillery.

Outgunned, outnumbered and outmanoeuvred by a vastly superior force of indestructible space reptiles, Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) and his unit of callow marines have enough on their plate without the reams of personal baggage Chris Bertolini's script sees fit to lumber them with.

Nantz, for one, is still smarting from a previous engagement that cost him a platoon, not to mention the indignity of being outranked by an officer 10 years his junior (Ramon Rodriguez).

His inexperienced team, meanwhile, includes one gun-shy rookie (Noel Fisher), one corporal with PTSD (Jim Parrack) and another (Cory Hardrict) who holds Eckhart responsible for his brother's death.

Suffice to say that it is not exactly a happy band that swoops into Santa Monica to defend the homeland against a hostile force with its larv-eyes on our precious H20. But if war's good for anything, it's for resolving pesky personal issues.

Rest assured, then, that by the time this day is out the kid will have grown a pair, the traumatised headcase will have his mojo back and Aaron will have delivered enough stirring speeches to redeem himself. Hell, it could almost be a recruitment video.

From the "Support Our Troops" banner adorning one burnt-out building to Eckhart's fist-pumping insistence that "marines don't quit!", it's clear Battle has no problem swigging the militarist Kool-Aid.

Mercifully, though, it never lets ideology interfere with the inter-galactic ass-kicking, Liebesman exhibiting a propensity for elaborate set-pieces featuring suburban ambushes, an elevated freeway and a police station under siege that bodes well for his mooted Clash Of The Titans sequel.

Ok, so the bad guys are a bit of a letdown when eventually revealed, resembling nothing so much as spindly cousins of District 9's prawns.

But at least they arrive packing some killer hardware, a flying saucer made up of detachable drones being a particularly destructive highlight.

In a cast of unknowns, Michelle Rodriguez stands out as a tech sergeant caught up in the carnage simply by virtue of having a familiar face.

Still, in films like this, it's not like it matters who's manning the bazookas.
 

Verdict:

Imagine Black Hawk Down with ETs instead of Somalis and you'll have the measure of an explosive if functional actioner that will do while we're waiting for summer's big guns to arrive.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • apo1978

      Mar 8th 2011, 13:39

      As long as its better than Skyline. Please, for the love of God...

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    • writerdave87

      Mar 8th 2011, 14:44

      An episode of Dora the Explorer is better than Skyline.

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    • Gav83

      Mar 8th 2011, 22:18

      I'd rather sniff a dogs bare a**e than watch Skyline again.

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    • GarthMarenghi

      Mar 8th 2011, 23:57

      That's pretty much what I figured. I just could never understand why the likes of TF, Empire, Collider and so on were getting so excited about this when the first trailers and photos arrived. It seemed pretty much like a combination of any half-a-dozen alien invasion flicks and action movies you could mention from the past decade or so. With the director's track record thrown in, three stars was the most I was expecting. Still, at least it's not a remake or reboot or prequel, you've got to give them that. But when the director is following it up with a sequel to a remake, you'd imagine the 'originality' of Battle: LA was more of a coincidence than anything else.

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    • jessmarchant123

      Mar 9th 2011, 7:09

      Send Flowers to anyone any time any where through our services send flowers in dubai

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    • toolbaggins

      Mar 11th 2011, 22:01

      1

      Haha, I heard people saying they're glad LA is the victim of this movie, but I wonder does Neprinol work to even get these films financed, or are they just greenlit immediately.

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    • Si1979

      Mar 12th 2011, 15:55

      1

      It is awful, don't be fooled by the exciting trailer. The dialog is unintentionally hilarious, it is ridden with every war cliche going and it is insultingly unoriginal. It looks as though the director is more a video game fan than a lover of science fiction. Unless you are a teenager with a buzz cut and a failing IQ, avoid.

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    • ChrisWootton

      Mar 13th 2011, 18:58

      1

      Saw this Saturday... bloody terrible in every way! Two hours of everyone shouting at each other and blowing stuff up! Awful Awful Awful

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    • patches89

      Mar 14th 2011, 11:38

      4

      to those who gave it 1 star...what kind of film were you expecting its an alien invasion film which is bound to have cheesy dialogue and a s**tload of action. i enjoyed it, it had what i was looking for which was entertainment...i dont care for a deep plot when watching this type of movie and i liked the fact it was done from the viewpoint of the army...id say watch it if you want a good time

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    • ChrisWootton

      Mar 14th 2011, 15:49

      to those who gave it 1 star...what kind of film were you expecting A good one?

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    • BruceShark

      Mar 16th 2011, 16:28

      To all the people giving a one star rating, stop jumping on the bandwagon. It's not that bad. It is what it is. What the hell were you expecting, Shakesphere.

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    • Outright

      Mar 17th 2011, 11:56

      1

      To all the people asking others what they expected, I'll tell you what I expected. I expected at least a little originality, but there was no trace of that (body with integrated weapon - District 9, courage under fire and going back out at the end to fight - Black Hawk Down, the list goes on...). If you enjoy watching how real soldiers do it, watch Hurt Locker, Restrepo or Generation Kill. If you enjoy watching awesome firepower, play Call of Duty. But if you enjoy mind-numbing and highly unintelligible c**p, then this one's for you.

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    • apo1978

      Mar 22nd 2011, 13:37

      2

      Its not a one star movie, more 2/12 for me. Better than Skyline, just...

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    • TheDMeister

      Mar 25th 2011, 9:57

      4

      I think patches89 said it perfectly. Battle LA is a cliche most definetly but it's certainly not the most corny or worst cliches ever seen. It doesnt challenge the intellect nor does it deliver oscar worthy performances but what it does deliver is incredible special effects and some thrilling action set pieces. Don't expect anything sophisticated which is true but only you can decide whether an sci-fi actioner like this is for you because for me personally; I found it to be a lot of fun.

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    • Fitness76

      Mar 28th 2011, 11:52

      This film has been done before like 'independance' day and 'skyline' there's nothing new, overall I would give 4/10

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    • xDxIxSxCxOx

      Apr 21st 2011, 9:28

      4

      For a review by someone who actually likes films http://xdxixsxcxox-reviews.blogspot.com/

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