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Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

A 2011 movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

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Battle: Los Angles Delivers

  • Mar 11, 2011

War movies depicting a group of soldiers against overwhelming odds are nothing new. For generations, moviegoers have been treated to cinematic recreations as well as new scenarios of fighting units in combat. Usually these films follow a typical formula that includes the tough and gritty commanding officer, the naïve new soldier, the one with a woman and children waiting at home, and one who has difficulties with combat. In the new movie Battle: Los Angeles a new twist is given to the formulaic troops-in-combat picture which produces a mixed bag of results.

Aaron Eckhart stars as Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz; a 20 year Marine who, after losing men on a recent mission, has decided that it is time for him to leave and has filed his retirement paperwork from the corps. While completing a training exercise, Nantz and a squadron of Marines at Camp Pendleton are activated for what they are told is an evacuation mission in order to clear Santa Monica and other area residents from a swarm of meteors which are scheduled to hit just off the coast.

Nantz is assigned to a new commanding officer who, like the men in his unit, is wary of Nantz as many believe that he got his men killed in his last assignment. Despite the misgivings of the new lieutenant, he agrees that Nantz offers a wealth of experience and should be just fine for a simple evacuation assignment.

However during the mission briefing, the Marines are informed that the meteors that are hitting off the coast of major cities around the world contain metallic centers and that this is very likely an invasion from an unknown force. While the Marines are deploying an otherworldly fighting unit emerges destroying everything in their path as they moved inland from the coast line. Unsure what they are dealing with, the military decides to carpet bomb the city in order to contain the alien threat and give Nantz and his unit three hours to enter the combat zone and evacuate civilians from a police station.

While the movie is for the most part the standard soldiers-at-war film which substitute’s aliens for the usual enemy forces, the strength of the cast and the solid action and special effects help the movie overcome many of its shortcomings. There is little character development in the film and scenarios that were introduced in some of the characters’ backstories early in the film were given little to no chance to develop once the shooting started.

I also had an issue with some of the tactics in the film. While it may seem nitpicking there were a few scenes where the soldiers didn’t follow logical courses of engagement until later in the film. I have had only the most basic of combat instruction from my brief time in the Air Force, yet I can think of at least four scenarios in the film where the unit failed to use the most logical options available in their combat situation. Of course any film dealing with an alien invasion is sure to have plot holes and yes I can quibble about the Air Force waiting three hours to bomb a heavily overrun area when containment would have been priority one in not allowing a hostile force that much time to entrench itself.

That being said it was an interesting and entertaining film. The enemy was sufficiently mysterious and dangerous enough to hold my interest and had me rooting desperately for the troops to rise up and strike back at the enemy. Michelle Rodriguez does fine supporting work in the role of an Air Force Tech Sgt. who may have the key to turning the tide of the battle. Eckhart is solid as the gruff but caring staff sergeant is equally strong and his unit of young corporals, including R&B singer Ne-Yo, are believable.

Director Jonathan Liebesman knows the core intention of this film is and in doing so provides enough action to keep the audience entertained throughout. despite some issues with pacing and plot. While it doesn’t have the epic feel of Independence Day, Battle: Los Angeles is a film that provides enough entertainment to make it one of the better alien invasion films ever made and one that I certainly would not mind seeing revisited in a future sequel.

3.5 stars out of 5

Battle: Los Angles Delivers

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March 11, 2011
Thanks for this review! I'm pretty excited to see this and your review gives me some hope that it lives up to some of its potential.
March 11, 2011
Great review, I definitely want to check this one out. Part of the reason that some of the men in my life watched the Super Bowl was to catch this trailer LOL So, I'm sure I won't be able to escape it and I'm glad to hear that it'll be worth my time ;p
March 11, 2011
I skimmed through your review since I need to see this tonight; I missed the advance show two nights ago because I was too tired. Thanks for the review!
March 12, 2011
featured this review in our community....
More Battle: Los Angeles reviews
review by . March 13, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Don't Just Win The Battle, WIN The War....HURRAH!!!
Let’s get one thing straight: alien invasion movies are a dime-a-dozen these days, they’re the easiest way to make a quick buck. So if you’re going into “Battle: Los Angeles” with the usual expectations, you would be both right and wrong. This film by director Jonathan Liebesmann (Darkness Falls) is indeed a movie with extraterrestrials in it, but at heart, it is a war-military film that has the "staplings" of past war movies. I would say that it does try …
review by . March 29, 2011
It Ain't
Alien invasion films are a dime a dozen.  They've been around forever it seems.  From classics like the original War of the Worlds to mildly enjoyable films like Signs and a multitude of clunkers that include Tom Cruise's shot at War of the Worlds, there is an endless supply of "let's take over humanity" flicks.  When I heard that Battle:  Los Angeles was coming to the big screen, I was torn.      Why?  Because previews of the film …
review by . June 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
* out of ****     Every year, dozens of mediocre action movies release. Given that I believe those dozens of action films to be mediocre, I am seldom impressed by the genre. With that being said, those films are decent; mediocre, if you may. Meanwhile, Jonathan Liebesman's "Battle: Las Angeles" is just plain bad.    Why do people get paid to make movies like this one? They entertain a certain audience, sure. I get that. We all need to make money. But …
review by . March 13, 2011
Was kind of bored to be honest. Never hard any wow moments. Some of the machines/weapons they use are pretty cool though. Some parts of it style wise reminded me of Killzone a little bit too.    Should have waited to see this at the dollar movie .. ah well.
review by . March 24, 2011
Battle: Los Angeles is only a mediocre addition to the alien invasion genre.    Poor L.A., always getting beaten up either by weather anomalies (Day After Tomorrow), giant meteors (Deep Impact), the Mayan doomsday calendar (2012) – and yes, many alien invasions staking their claim on the City of Angels. Maybe L.A. is always a target in disaster films because, well, this is where films are made, so there's an affinity. Now count Battle: Los Angeles as one of them.    You …
review by . March 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
District 9 eaten and then crapped out as Battle Los Angeles
BATTLE LOS ANGELES   Written by Christopher Bertolini   Directed by Jonathan Liebesman   Starring Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena       Announcer: One thing is clear; the world is at war.       Director Jonathan Liebesman, the man who brought us DARKNESS FALLS and a TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE prequel, is about to make contact with his latest film, BATTLE LOS ANGELES.  He drops his …
review by . March 11, 2011
There is something about invasion films that always seem to bring in scores of movie go-ers, regardless of the quality of the film.. Over the last few years we have had a few great alien invasion films like District 9 and even Cloverfield, if the handheld cinematography did not cause motion sickness; but we have also has some really bad invasion films, such as Skyline, which gave the appearance that it would be good though in reality, it had NO point). Two weeks ago I Am Number Four came out, and …
review by . March 12, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Battle: Los Angeles is shot and edited in much the same way as a realistic war movie – quick cuts, shaky handheld cameras, moments of action so blurred that it’s next to impossible to tell who’s doing what to whom – and it aims to be emotionally draining as we watch scene after scene of death and destruction. It’s a visceral experience, one in which we’re made to feel immersed and vulnerable. These techniques …
review by . April 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      As soon as I saw the trailer for this film I became so excited. I thought this could be a really good mash-up between District 9 and Black Hawk Down. Well, my anticipation grew and my deception is simply huge. I don't even know what to think about this mess. What was the purpose of this movie? What did I just saw? Why the hell almost every time a movie like this comes out the trailer makes me loose my patience and become crazy about the project and after I see it I …
Quick Tip by . March 23, 2011
A surprisingly good alien invasion flick. No dumb alien jokes or computer viruses like in Independence Day and a huge pat on the back for the U.S. Marine Corps make Battle:  Los Angeles a solid entry into the alien invasion genre. 
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #37
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


  • Opens March 11, 2011
  • A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles.
  • Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodríguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo, Michael Peña
  • Director: Jonathan Liebesman
  • Genres: Sci-Fi ActionAlien FilmScience Fiction
  • Poster art for "Battle: Los Angeles."
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