The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Battle: Los Angeles

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2_Chicks_Small  Judy Thorburn

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Battle: Los Angeles

It is not like we haven't been down this road before. Just add Battle: Los Angeles to the long list of movies about alien invasions from outer space. However, this sci fi fantasy plays out more as a war movie ala Black Hawk Down mixed with War of the Worlds and Independence Day. Plus, for those pondering a career in the military, it works as a great recruitment video for the Marines whose motto “Marine's don't quit” shines through.

The scenario is this. At first it appeared like a small cluster of meteors is heading towards earth. But before too long the entire world comes to realize we have been attacked by unknown, hostile entities not from this planet, who have landed with the intention of wiping out the human race and taking over our resources. Communication with earthlings is not on their agenda.

With cities around the globe including the Eastern part of the U.S. fallen, the last defensive force left on the West Coast is in Los Angeles. The only thing clear is “the world is at war”. Given the unique circumstances, Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz's (Aaron Eckhart, in serious command mode) plans of retiring after 20 years is put on hold and he is swept back into active duty helping 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) lead a small platoon into the ravaged city. What little we learn about each member of the unit is shown through a brief look into their lives, so that we should have some reason to care about them. Martinez leaves behind his eight month pregnant wife. Among his team of young soldiers are Nigerian born Corpsman Adukwu (Adetokumboh M'Cormack) who communicates by Skype with his sister in Africa. Cpl. Harris (singer Ne-Yo, in his screen debut) is engaged to be married. Cpl. Lockett's (Cory C. Hardrict) brother died in Iraq and he harbors some bitter feelings towards Nantz who was the only survivor of a platoon ambush that took his brother's life. All of their personal ties and issues are put on the backburner when battling for the survival of mankind.

Their mission at hand is to rescue some civilians, including a woman (Bridget Moynahan) with two young daughters, and a man (Michael Pena) and his young son, hiding out in a police station. With the clock ticking, Nantz and his men have only three hours to find and get them out of the area and into a safe zone before it is bombed. On the way they encounter and are joined by Tech Sgt. Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez, once again typecast in yet other tough chick role), the only survivor of an alien attack on her platoon.

Although there is an apparent message about sacrifice and redemption, the title really says it all. It is strictly about the battle, and under the direction of Jonathan Liebesman (The Killing Room) the film overflows with one action packed battle sequence after another that entail requisite gunfights, fiery explosions, and vehicles and bodies flying everywhere among the carnage as the heroic marines attempt to fight off and kill the enemy that are on their tail.

Unfortunately, Battle: Los Angeles is plagued with frenetic, shaky camera work and awful, occasionally ridiculous, dialogue. The most laughable is when Moynahan's character announces with a straight face, “I am a veterinarian” as if that she had some special knowledge of the alien species' anatomy. I don't know how the actress kept a straight face while saying that line.

Battle: Los Angeles is for action junkies and definitely a guy flick. Lacking any originality, substance and other praiseworthy elements that would garner a “must see”, I can't really recommend this film. Even the look of the ETs, that are kind of a cross between “Alien” and a cyborg are not visually impressive. Do what you will with this info. Unlike the invasion, you have been forewarned.