Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

Actors: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Format: AC-3, Dolby, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
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

Special Features

  • Behind The Battle
  • Building the Aliens
  • Acting with Aliens
  • Shooting the Aliens
  • Preparing for Battle
  • Creating L.A. in LA



Take 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 fiction one.

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 died!

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.



blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Headlines

Most Popular

Copyright © 1997-forward James O'Ehley/The Sci-Fi Movie Page (unless where indicated otherwise).