Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review - Battle: Los Angeles

A veteran unit of marines goes into battle against an unknown foe, led by a grizzled sergeant and a freshly-minted rookie lieutenant. From the petrified private, to the shell-shocked corporal, to the tough-as-nails air force sergeant, the characters find themselves in heavy combat, fighting for their lives. As the casualties mount, the reluctant Sgt. Nantz steps up to lead the squad from harm's way, protect a handful of civilians, and find a way to defeat the enemy -- all while facing the inner demons of his own past.

Oh. And there are aliens.

Which is how the only "sci-fi" element of the film feels. Like an afterthought. Incidental.

Battle LA tries to garner empathy with its ensemble cast of characters, but somehow falls flat. At the same time, it uses the same tropes we've seen in movies from War of the Worlds to Independence Day, with little original material to add to the mix. Here, our faceless aliens fall from the sky with less than a straw-man's worth of motivation or background. And of course, these invaders come complete with the requisite single point of failure for the clever humans to exploit to save the planet.

If there's a glimmer of redemption for the movie, it's in the opening act, when the marines are thrown into a deadly war zone with no concept of what they may face. Their fear is tangible, as is the menace of the unknown threat that awaits.

And, of course, the movie has Michelle Rodriguez.

Battle: LA's Saving Grace?
But after the aliens show their cybernetic faces, things devolve into a tedious grind from firefight to firefight with no overall goal in sight.

If you loved Independence it and watch it again. It's basically the same story, and a far better way to spend two hours.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

1 comment:

  1. ...or better yet, rent Aliens again since it is, as far as I'm concerned, one of the landmark science fiction military action movies.

    Admittedly, the list of worthy sci-fi military movies is pretty short.