Newest Review: ... they made that jump to an all-out alien invasion in this film is somewhat vague. Stephen Spielberg, of course, had his worse hit with the... more
First in last out, Marines!!!!
Battle: Los Angeles (DVD)
Member Name: thedevilinme
Battle: Los Angeles (DVD)
Date: 03/03/12, updated on 05/03/12 (50 review reads)
Advantages: Above average silly action film
Disadvantages: Bad dialogue
Star - Aaron Eckhart
Cert - 12a
Run Time - 116 minutes
Genre - Action Sci-Fi
Country - USA
Sgt. Major:.................... "At 14:46 Pacific Standard Time, 12 different locations around the world were breached, in what appears to be a coordinated attack by an unknown enemy. All breaches were along the coastline, in what is a campaign of rapid dominance. This is a textbook military invasion. There are massive casualties in New York, defensive lines are being setup in Boston, and at 13:15 Zulu Time we lost communications with San Francisco and San Diego, their status is unknown. What we do know is that we are the LAST offensive force on the west coast, we can NOT lose Los Angeles...."
As clever girls know, sometimes dumb hunks can be fun, and it's the same with brainless action movies. The front cover is appealing and once you get them out of the package they are all grunts and groans in all the right places with little cerebral conversation to patronize you, the plan only to be rewarded with a predictable climax, returning them to the store at your leisure. Battle: Los Angeles looks every inch that muscle head one night stand but once it gets going it's a surprisingly entertaining and although not a meaty sci-fi for the purist its far better fun than its dust cover suggests. It's no District 9 or, indeed, Independence Day, but its way better than the ratings suggest. Actually it's better than Independence Day, one seriously over-rated movie. It's certainly better than Skyline, different aliens trashing the same city the year before.
Rather abstractly, the movie is based on the real life incident know as 'The Battle of Los Angeles', when, in 1942, unidentified craft and strange flashing lights were allegedly spotted over Los Angeles. Suspecting the Japanese Air Force were invading, the air defence guns opened up in classic American 'friendly fire' style, the birth of the itchy trigger, the event later filed as 'war nerves' and a false alarm, nothing ever found or hit. How they made that jump to an all-out alien invasion in this film is somewhat vague. Stephen Spielberg, of course, had his worse hit with the film '1941' based on the very same incident.
Aaron Eckhart ... Sgt. Michael Nantz
Ramon Rodriguez ... 2nd Lt. William Martinez
Will Rothhaar ... Cpl. Lee Imlay
Cory Hardrict ... Cpl. Jason Lockett
Jim Parrack ... LCpl. Peter Kerns
Bridget Moynahan ... Michele
Adetokumboh M'Cormack ... Corpsman Jibril Adukwu
Bryce Cass ... Hector Rincon
Michael Peña ... Joe Rincon
Michelle Rodriguez ... TSgt. Elena Santos
Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) has picked the wrong day to retire, having to stand down his Marine Corp career after his actions got two guys killed in Iraq. His retirement last just 24 hours though as what are thought to be a cluster of meteorites heading for the coast of California will demand more than just the National Guard to keep the sightseer safe. The meteors are slowing down as they near the Earths atmosphere and showing uncomfortable accuracy, all the major coastlines of the world witnessing a similar phenomenon.
"What's that.......there, the thing coming out of the water!"
The meteors slam into the Pacific Ocean just off Santa Monica and Los Angeles, a hot fizzle of geezer like steam from the splash releasing mechanical aliens, emerging from the waves with all lasers blazing, laying waste to the first ten blocks back from the beach. The plan is for the Marines to hold them there and then at the ten blocks, the alien invaders, so far, not airborne.
Nantz is put under the command of 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), who doesn't have much combat experience, their 8 man unit dispatched to rescue some civilians from a trashed police station in the danger zone, a time limit set as the air force intent to light up the whole beach front owned by the advancing enemy, their best chance to turn the invasion.
As the unit encounter the aliens for the first time they are out gunned, technology and accuracy wise. But, after their first kill in a swimming pool, it seems the cyborg like troops have a weak point and the marines bullied by their discovery press on to the police station to find the survivors, the Rincon family and a vet (Bridget Moynahan) cowering in the locked cells. The return trip is not going to be pleasant though with that three hour timeline as the aliens have deployed their air force and beating back the home side. But Nantz is determined he will not mess up this time and will get his civilians to safety, the marines always first in and last out.
Cpl. Kevin Harris: Santos, you okay?
TSgt. Elena Santos: Yeah. I got that nasty stuff all over my mouth, man.
Cpl. Kevin Harris: Ha ha ha ha.
TSgt. Elena Santos: It's not funny.
Cpl. Kevin Harris: Ha. You let him do you on the first date.
Think the brilliant and bonkers Starship Trooper meets Blackhawk Down and pepper it with Aliens and that silly Volcano movie with Tommy Lee Jones and you're in the right ball park. It's that kind of movie. But its surprisingly competent and exciting for what it is and although the writer and director clearly have a side bet going on to cram in as many spoken marine clichés as possible, that cheese does not detract from what is quite a good concept here, that of replacing now familiar street-to-street skirmishes with Muslims and Arabs we all see on CNN to close combat with heavily armed aliens, a clever brutal intimacy that you think you have seen a million times before in alien movies but you probably haven't.
Its mid-range budget stuff at $70 million and stretches every cent to produce solid action realism on screen, happily not too over the top with the CGI from director Jonathan Liebsman, doing an ok $84 million back for his efforts, which is what Hollywood call a technical flop for this type of popcorn movie. I 100% suspect that is down to the critics being snobs and not seeing it for what it is. But it could have been a whole lot worse. The clincher seems to be the cool soundtrack and casting of people like Michele Rodriguez, Michael Peña and Aaron Eckhart, beefing things up and so it looks A-movie and doesn't suffer that B-Movie cheapness, although the wobbly cameras take some getting used to, the camera man clearly an alcoholic. It's obviously a tongue-in-cheek giggle from start to finish like the way Starship Troopers is but a genuine treat in the way it delivers. Don't believe the broadsheet reviews on this, especially the America ones. They don't get and see the irony here. Action movies are meant to be as dumb as real soldiers and that's why we laugh and wince. There are limited things you demand from action sci-fi: that of splattering aliens, a tomboy with a big gun and cool looking alien ships, which are all present and correct sir! Let em have it marines!!!
Imdb.com - 5.9/10 from 75,999 users
Metacritic.com - 37% critic's approval rating
Rottentomats.com - 37% critic's approval rating
Leonardo Maltin Film Year Book - 2.5/4
CNN -"... lock-and-load sci-fi - "Full Metal Jacket" meets "War of the Worlds".
The NY Post - "After a brief introduction to the clichéd characters, the battle of the title is a violent, over-amplified affair"
The LA Times - "Eat some leather Action packed from beginning to end, "Battle: Los Angeles" is the bigger, badder brother to "Independence Day."
The Guardian - "For an alien invasion film, this one is a solid effort, though there's a bit too much violence and not enough introspection".
-Behind the Battle-
Straightforward behind the scenes stuff.
-Aliens in Los Angeles-
Yep! Straightforward behind the scenes stuff.
Yep, yep, yep! Straightforward behind the scenes stuff.
Summary: Good fun