Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Movie Review: Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

There seemed to have been a really big wave of alien invasion films that came this year and Battle: LA was one of them. The whole alien invasion rah rah rah lets fight them off type of films happen to be some of my favorites. I mean at heart I am a huge Sci-Fi nerd so this movie was sort of like nerd porn for me, though it did have its flaws.

Aaron Eckhart is a Marine Staff Sergeant who is close to getting out of the Marines. But it seems the whole hostile aliens thing is about to get in the way of that. We are introduced to the various members of his soon to be squad in different parts of their lives both inside and outside the Marine Corps. This is supposed to get us familiar with the characters and even care about them but I don't think it goes far enough in some aspects and it becomes fairly obvious once the action starts that not many of them are going to make it through to the end of the film.

The story itself is actually pretty decent. A squad stuck behind enemy lines during an invasion and trying to make their way to safety. But things go south one after another and many of the Marines end up wounded or dead. I enjoy it when movies do that too, when people are getting blown away left and right it gives a sense that no one is safe though Aaron Eckhart's character was the only one to escape this feeling since you just knew he wasn't going to get so much as a scratch.

A lot of the actors I'd never seen in films before and it kind of shows. Whether it was the script itself or just poor acting, this kind of hurt the film. There were a few people who you can tell did the best with what they had, most obviously to me being Will Rothhaar who played Corporal Imlay. Even a number of Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez's lines fell kind of flat. In fact it had to have been for the most part the script, which had people saying things that had me facepalming or chuckling aloud while watching the film. Having spent a lot of time around Marines I can say there would have been a lot more cursing and less stating the obvious though I suppose that last one can be given some room considering it was for the audiences sake.

But I doubt most people went to Battle: Los Angeles expecting award winning acting. No you came for the action right? The CGI in the movie looks really good and blends with what I can only assume is live action set pieces rather well. Like I said before no one (mostly) seemed safe from getting ganked and we are made aware of that after the first fire fight when wounded Marines are taken out on a medevac helicopter only for it to be knocked out of the sky in a big ball of fire. There is a scene where the Marines hop into a tracked vehicle and a humvee to try and get to another destination that could have probably been much better, it was just too short. The combat scenes are intense because at any moment someone could be killed or injured and its always cool when a new alien weapon enters the movie.

Battle: Los Angeles suffers from at times shoddy dialogue that might make you cringe but the rest of the movie makes up for it. Imagine Black Hawk down but with aliens instead of Somalis and you have a good idea of what you are in for here. The movie offers mindless fun and by the end you actually do care about those who are still left in the squad. And the end? It totally leaves this open for a sequel which I would gladly go see.

Score: 8/10

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