Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, Korean, Spanish
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: June 14, 2011
Run Time: 116 minutes
Behind The Battle
Building the Aliens
Acting with Aliens
Shooting the Aliens
Preparing for Battle
Creating L.A. in LA
away the sci-fi trappings of Battle:
Los Angeles and what you’re left with is practically a remake of
Black Hawk Down, but with alien invaders this time round instead of
Somalis . . .
It goes without saying that if you enjoyed Black Hawk Down the
chances are pretty good that you will enjoy Battle: Los Angeles too.
(Same goes for if you like Michael Bay flicks.) If you however thought
Black Hawk Down was a dull, loud videogame of a movie, then you’d think
the same of Battle: Los Angeles.
Director Jonathan Liebesman designed his movie as the cinematic equivalent
of a pummeling: the viewer’s senses are supposed to be overloaded as the
action follows a platoon of American marines as they fight aliens invading
Los Angeles. (The movie was actually filmed in Louisiana by the way.)
Apparently the aliens are here to steal our planet’s water to fuel their
spaceships, which makes it a bit like, er, invading a country for its oil, I
suppose . . .
Watching it on a home theater system instead of the largest multiplex cinema
screen you can find diminishes it, but luckily gives the viewer the option
to adjust the volume levels and save on aspirins afterwards.
Ultimately Battle: Los Angeles is more of a war movie than a science
It is a lot of jerky camera nausea-inducing movements and loud explosions
and machinegun fire. It’s like being trapped inside a 3-D shooter (Call of
Duty: Modern Warfare – the alien invasion expansion pack?), but with zero
interactivity or emotional investment as the characters are largely
nondescript and interchangeable. At one point you wouldn’t even notice if
there was a continuity snafu and a character who was supposed to be dead
magically reappeared. Like us you’d be wondering where all these faceless
marines came from towards the end – after all, so many of them had already
Unlike, let’s say the space marines in 1986’s
Aliens (still the ultimate marines vs. aliens movie out there) all the
characters here are largely indistinguishable from one another and largely
serve as mere cannon fodder (or is that laser fodder?). The opening scenes
try to imbue some marines with personality, but these scenes backfire
because most of them come across as obnoxious frat boys and one can’t wait
for the fighting to actually begin!
Only Aaron Eckhart comes across as a discernable character, but his whole “I
had to sacrifice some of my buddies because it was war, damn it!” back story
is a shallow cliché. The same can be said of the rest of the movie. When one
character writes a farewell letter to his wife the audience immediately
knows that he is mincemeat. He might as well have been showing round photos
of his sweetheart back in Kansas to his fellow platoon members!
Battle: Los Angeles tries to globalize the conflict in this movie.
Snatches are shown on TV how other countries beside the U.S. are being
threatened by the aliens, but
Battle: Los Angeles
cannot escape the reality that it might as well be a recruiting video paid
for by the U.S. military. (Outside of the States it was sold as World
Invasion: Battle Los Angeles.)
WORTH IT? There was a time when war movies at least tried to have a
“war is hell” message, but by making its protagonists faceless alien
creatures instead of flesh and blood humans Battle: Los Angeles
doesn’t even try. If the jingoistic “let’s go kick some more alien butt”
ending doesn’t make you want to gag then you have indeed fallen for its
message that war isn’t hell, but a Sony Playstation first-person shooter . .
RECOMMENDATION: There is nothing in Battle: Los Angeles that
is new or even remotely interesting. Skip it.