Battle: Los Angeles Review

(2.5 STARS)

Battle: Los Angeles, I think, is a fair approximation of what would happen if aliens invaded the world of 24. The film is full of one-dimensional freedom fighters, as well as a badass, capable-of-anything superman. But it’s entertaining in a mindless sort of way. It definitely doesn’t live up to its amazing teaser, but for a March action film, it’s not so bad…definitely better than I anticipated.

The film doesn’t really waste any time getting into things. After brief introductions of our main characters—the grizzled veteran marine (Aaron Eckhart), the young hotshot lieutenant (Ramon Rodriguez), the one who’s about to be married (Ne-Yo), the newbie who’s afraid to fight (Noel Fisher), etc. They’re your typical end-of-the-world action movie archetypes.

Once the introductory stuff is dispensed of, it’s pretty much non-stop fighting. Aliens have invaded the planet and are on an all-out assault to wipe out the human race. Our characters’ mission is to go past the safe zone in order to rescue some civilians holed up in an abandoned police station. They’re on the clock, however, as the air force is planning an all out assault on the enemy-controlled territory in precisely three hours. Predictably, not everyone will survive, and there will be unexpected complications, but along the way, they discover a way to potentially defeat these seemingly unbeatable creatures.

The biggest problem I had with the film related to the way the filmmakers elected to convey this story about an alien invasion. We’ve got this epic worldwide battle, yet the film focuses on a number of grunts trying to save a man, a woman, and three kids. That’s it. I appreciated the “you-are-there” approach to the fighting, but I felt like the story was so minor for the magnitude of this event.

What really makes Battle: Los Angeles entertaining, however, is the total badass-ery of Aaron Eckhart. He’s in full “hoo-rah” mode and pulls off some laughably absurd (but cool) stunts. In films like this, it’s typical to expect a lot of big, emotional speeches with swelling music, and Eckhart has some doozies. Overall, the entire film has everything you’d expect from it, and while none of it is exceptional, most of it does the trick.

I think Battle: Los Angeles will do solid business, but it’s not going to be the most memorable film of the year. The special effects are pretty lame, to be honest. Most of the shots of the aliens are from a distance, and when we finally get an up-close shot, it’s too quick and jumpy to get a good luck at them.

All that said, the film is fun. It’s pretty stupid, if I’m being honest, but I was never bored and wasn’t shaking my head afterward, like I thought I might be, considering some of the awful reviews. If you’re looking for quality, The Adjustment Bureau is probably a better bet, but I’m not afraid to give Battle: Los Angeles a decent recommendation.

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