Battle: Los Angeles Movie Review
After countless failed attempts to conquer or exterminate the human race, aliens are back at again in Battle: Los Angeles, a gritty war film where U.S. marines find themselves fighting for their lives on the streets against an army of biomechanical creatures. And where audiences will find plenty to enjoy.
Battle: Los Angeles stars Aaron Eckhart as a retiring staff sergeant who ends up leading a unit through Los Angeles to recover a few stranded civilians and evacuate them before the Air Force bombs the city. Eckhart is joined by Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Monahan and Michael Peña, though the actors involved really aren’t important.
The movie is first and foremost about action and excitement, and on those counts Battle: Los Angeles more than delivers. Director Jonathan Liebesman, who did the terrible Darkness Falls and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre prequel, clearly studied the best war films from the last 20 years – namely Saving Private Ryan – took the best features and injected aliens into the story.
The result: a legitimately gritty (though almost entirely bloodless) action-thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Sure, Liebesman is no Spielberg. The movie maintains all the war clichés we’ve come to expect, from over-animated grunts to the now mandatory silent-ear-buzzing-after-explosion action sequence. At times they’re eye-roll inducing, and at the very least not nearly as well executed.
And sure, the story is about as dumb and basic as they come. Aliens attack, humans fight back. The humans bicker about inconsequential things, often in pace-killing moments in the third act that inadequately attempt to develop the characters.
But what do you expect? What do you want? It’s a movie about aliens attacking Los Angeles and the military response. It’s action-packed and exciting. That’s all you need.
That being said, Battle: Los Angeles isn’t going to win any awards. It does have some plot holes and a severe lack of character development; Liebesman and writer Christopher Bertolini jump into the action way too quickly and don’t establish the characters enough before dropping the big “aliens exist” moment.
In other words, it could have been better.
But it is good enough. Battle: Los Angeles is a fun, exciting thrill ride that is a nice change of pace from an otherwise rather dreary early 2011 schedule.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.