Review: Battle: Los Angeles
PUBLISHED: 14:01 12 March 2011
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.
Battle: Los Angeles (12A)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
With: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena
Length: 116 mins