Review: Battle: Los Angeles

The opening credits tell us that this is an original film production, which is ironic as there isn't a single original idea in it.

A sci-fi/war movie hybrid about a squad of marines during an alien attack on Los Angeles, it is as perfunctory and straightforward as its title, but jolly exciting nonetheless.

After a brief get-to-know- your-cannon-fodder opening, the action is unrelenting. We follow a squadron of grunts as they embark on a specious mission to rescue civilians from an area which is set to be bombed in three hours. usually, these alien invasion movies take a sweeping multi-character perspective and limiting it to this squadron perspective is a little restrictive. But this is made up for by the hand-held camera work which gives it a you-are-there immediacy.

The film takes the now perfunctory love-the-warrior/hate-the-war position. Heading it all up is the most improbable marine imaginable, Aaron Eckhart.

Lined up behind that impressively rigid jawline and dimpled chin, he can certainly make a fair stab at granite masculinity. But his performance is just a bit unyielding to be fun. A quality performer but he takes it all a bit too seriously.

We are getting used to our blockbuster movies being compendiums of best bits from other movies. But Battle: LA takes it so far, it could almost be an art project – an intellectual challenge to see if you could produce a functioning entertainment without committing a single creative act. If so, they have succeeded and done so rather well. What it lacks in creativity, it makes up for in proficiency.

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Battle: Los Angeles (12A)

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

With: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena

Length: 116 mins


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