- Movie Rating -

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

| July 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

Watching Battle: Los Angeles is like eating a really boring dessert. Once you’ve finished it, you immediately forget about it and never ask for seconds. Afterwards you’re sorry that you even bothered. Here is a war movie filtered through an alien invasion movie and rings the cliches out of both genres, often at the same time. The movie is a needless, brainless insult to both genres. Somebody outta sue.

The story takes place on August 12th of this year and involves an invasion of the earth by something from above. Meteors are falling to earth and landing on every coast. When they land, they contain shock troops who immediately overtake an area and begin shooting lasers. Into that frey comes Marine Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) who is just about to retire after 20 years of service and has something bad on his record that is never explained. The movie kind of, sort of, dances around that incident but never really gets into it.

Nantz is given orders to move his troops into Santa Monica to take back L.A. from the invasion force. From news reports, we hear that all of L.A. is under attack, so why exactly Nantz’s team specifically needs to move into Santa Monica never really comes up.

The troops on the mission come right out of the action movie cliche factory: The Guy Who is Getting Married, The Guy Who is About to be a Father, The Gung-Ho Fighter, The Big Mouth. None of these men are exactly distinquished and it hardly matters. They are defined by very minor personal issues that sort of telegraphs their fate. When a guy has a pregnant wife, you know he’d be better off just staying home. They are all different minorities and ethnicities, but individuality is null and void. This movie plays like the cut scenes from a video game, it is just that dull.

The reason that the aliens are here is kind of inane. They are here – if I heard right – because they need our water to survive and to fuel their ships. That begs this question: What have they been using to fuel their ships up till now? The aliens, which are are an incomprehensible morass of legs and what appears to be bladders for torsos are hard to make out. The movie never gives us a clear look, they are mostly seen at a distance or in close-ups briefly because they are blown into itty bitty Martian meatballs. There is never one tiny sense of wonder or curiosity about these creatures, where they come from, or what they know of us. What passes for wonderment comes from a scene in which Nantz and a Vet Tech rip apart one of the creatures to find out how to kill it. There’s an answer to that question but it informs the troops where to shoot them. However, based on the battle scenes that follow, it seems that half of the troops weren’t listening.

The ships that they aliens arrive in are particularly lame. They look as they through are made up of pieces and parts filched from a junkyard. One of the ships even has the capability of burrowing into the ground. Why? So it can look impressive rising out of the ground as the hero look up in shock and awe.

Battle: Los Angeles is one of the most frustrating action movies that I’ve seen in many moons. Nothing makes any sense. The front-and-center of the movie is a series of incomprehensible scenes in which the cast is required to shoot across a city block at something that looks like an alien. Occasionally someone on the human side dies, but even the suspense of that nullified by the fact that the characters are so thin that you lose track of which character has just perished. Here is a movie so inept that it can’t even give an answer to its own logical mistakes and then comes up with an ending that isn’t really an ending. What we get from the end of this movie is the suggestion that a sequel is emminent that will continue the mess that this one has started.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.