See what I did there. As the title says, Battle: Los Angeles shares one important aspect with the recent bust Sucker Punch. There are explosions. Lots of explosions. So many explosions that I got tired of explosions. As a pyromaniac, I thought such a thing was absurd - borderline insane - but both movies have that many explosions. Is it a recurring theme in the movies I go to see this year? We'll see. If any other trailers have a ton of explosions I'll be guaranteed to see and review those movies. And talk about how much I love explosions, or hate explosions, or get annoyed by explosions. Anyway, enough rambling about explosions; here's my review on the Aaron Eckhart alien invasion film, Battle: Los Angeles.
From the trailers, I knew what to expect. A gruesome, and somewhat believable, way human civilization might fall in the future. I am a firm believer in the existence of other lifeforms, and something we can't gauge is how much farther ahead technologically these races are. Some will find this opinion disgraceful, ridiculous; maybe comment on the craziness of the statement. Unfortunately, however, it is entirely possible that an alien species could invade Earth at any given time. Anticipating it playing out like the plot of Battle: Los Angeles is something for the experts to debate, so enough editorializing this review.
The idea for the movie is the great exaggeration of a speculated invasion of Los Angeles back in 1942. UFOlogists claim the cause was of extraterrestrial nature, and some claim it was just a false alarm. Whatever it was didn't matter and rumours abound ranged from a Japanese invasion (fresh off the bombing of Pearl Harbour) to a government cover-up of something greater. No one publicly knows what happened that day, and Battle: Los Angeles looks to make big bucks sensationalizing the event.
The plot is as simple as simple gets. Nothing original, but I wasn't looking for original. I wanted explosions and the movie didn't disappoint. A harmless meteor shower gets reported on and with everyone ignoring the news. Suddenly several meteor showers appear across the globe and governments militarize, ready to combat anything. The story follows a group of marines led by Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) who take destiny into their own hands. Don't expect a completely thought out story here; it's all stuff we've seen before. As many invasion movies go, the plot doesn't really need to play a role. The movie focuses more on the relationship between the marines still standing and their conflict with Staff Sergeant Nantz, who gained the malicious reputation of leading some of his men to death in a previous conflict. That relationship leads to one pivotal scene where the marines must make a difficult decision - I won't spoil it.
The action scenes are what shine here through and through. Destruction is in the spotlight here, and several helicopter overviews of an embattled Los Angeles really give you the perspective that humanity is doomed. The fight scenes are similarly convincing and I had the sense Jonathan Liebesman (the director) was aiming at the same intensity of epic war films in these scenes. The combat scenes, which appeared more frequently than dialogue, never fail to disappoint and are mildly entertaining. Other than that, the movie is just a typical alien invasion film.
The current Rotten Tomatoes rating is 34% last time I checked, so not good. It is unfair because for the alien invasion genre, it is hard these days to come up with an original and inventive plot. The acting was decent, and I never expected Aaron Eckhart to be good as the soldier lead in a movie. He played the distressed solider well enough, and it was fun to see his aggressive personality counterbalance those of his compatriots. Given his comedic background, the change from comedian to serious actor was a nice change and something he should do more often.
Overall, the movie was exactly what I thought it would be. This is a straight-up alien invasion flick with the intensity of a doomsday war scenario and good acting to boot. If you like explosions and seeing the military in action, by all means go and see this. If not, well then this movie is probably not for you.