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Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

A 2011 movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

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District 9 eaten and then crapped out as Battle Los Angeles

  • Mar 12, 2011
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 audience right into the middle of an epic alien invasion bigger than anything you’ve ever seen before on screen.  And then, right when it looks like it’s about to get really dire, he takes the action back 24 hours, like a bad television drama might, so that we can contextualize exactly what this devastation has consumed, without realizing whatsoever that no one really cares  what happened earlier.  All we want to see is what happens next.
By the time you get to what is next, you won’t care what it is.  First you have to meet the platoon that will try to save the world.  You’ve got an army sergeant with a sketchy service record who has just put in for retirement.  He will be leading a band of assorted military types who have never been in combat before.  There is one grunt who is getting married, one whose wife is pregnant, one who is a virgin still (and therefore cannot die before losing his virginity) and there is even one soldier whose brother died under the command of his new sergeant.  There is oh so much at risk for these boys and, thanks to the blatantly obvious setup, we already know what horror awaits them.  Once in combat, hardly any of this back-story even gets brought up though, making it so worth going there to begin with, and Liebesman can focus on what he should have to begin with, blowing stuff up.  He blows so much stuff up though that one wonders how he can sustain everything for another 90 minutes.  Enter yet another tried and true tension builder; the troop must get themselves and a handful of civilians out of their war zone by a certain time or they will be bombed by an impending American air strike.  At least the entire cast getting blown up would have been original.
BATTLE LOS ANGELES is lazy filmmaking.  It is one of those pictures that plays out like a bad pitch, so transparent that you can see the Hollywood suits behind the screen counting the money they will make off all who are unfortunate enough to see this disastrous disaster pic.  The script is riddled with clichés and none of the actors, not even the usually stellar Aaron Eckhart, can find any meaning in the dialogue they have to force out.  (Michelle Rodriguez does a solid job but she’s got to be used to spitting out contrived nonsense by this point in her career.)  Even the film’s visual style, the only reason I went to see it, is derivative of DISTRICT 9 – only with all the excitement and electricity sucked out of it.  Clearly somebody somewhere wanted to capitalize on that film’s success by stripping it of all intelligent and provocative thought, allowing for more middling audiences to just enjoy kicking some alien ass.  It all amounts to nothing more than a losing battle.
District 9 eaten and then crapped out as Battle Los Angeles District 9 eaten and then crapped out as Battle Los Angeles District 9 eaten and then crapped out as Battle Los Angeles

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March 13, 2011
The world is at war with one another rather than with aliens, if I've to predict the future. Some movie makers simply make movie for egoistic purposes. The theme is so old that should that happen in reality one day, we might all be thinking it's a movie! Anyhow, you've summed it all up and although I've not seen it, I've no inclination to. So, thanks for the savings! :)
March 30, 2011
I do what I can. Thanks.
March 13, 2011
nice one, Joseph. sweet review as always
March 30, 2011
You obviously enjoyed it way more than I did. Thanks though.
March 12, 2011
Love your title! Great write-up, thanks :)
March 30, 2011
My pleasure, thanks.
March 12, 2011
I didn't like this film either, although I would argue that  District 9 was thematically different and therefore not comparable. It was also itself not a very good film. I think a better comparison is Independence Day, since that too is about aliens who invade and destroy Earth for its natural resources. It even has a similar ending.
March 12, 2011
I just thought it was similar visually to District 9 really. I thought this was just a complete waste of time.
March 12, 2011
I see. You're right, though -- this movie doesn't work. I would have liked it a lot more if there had been some degree of fun to it. It is, after all, about aliens invading the Earth. This, I believe, lends itself naturally to cinematic escapism. To shoot this movie in the style of a gritty war movie, like The Hurt Locker or Saving Private Ryan, is overambitious and inappropriate. And then to subject the characters to the most overused war movie cliches is just plain silly.
March 12, 2011
Well said and its release coinciding with the Japan devastation almost made it seem insulting instead of just trivial.
March 12, 2011
That was purely a coincidence. Unfortunate, but a coincidence nonetheless.
March 12, 2011
Made for an awkward start when Tokyo is announced as the first city under meteor siege.
March 13, 2011
It was middle of the road for me; nothing I hated but definitely nothing to write home about. I am a war movie junkie, so I guess I tolerated it a little. Speaking of which, have you guys seen "Sinking of Japan" (2003 or 2004 I think)? It was almost felt like prediction of the latest events in Japan...
March 13, 2011
Never heard of that film. I'm still catching up.
March 13, 2011
The Sinking of Japan was a novel written in 1973 by Sakyo Komatsu & I watched a TV show based on it sometime in end 70s. The movie was made around 2006. The original title in Kanji is 日本沈没 (Nihon Chinbotsu) which literally translates to Japan Sinks.
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 please...is …
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 11, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Battle: Los Angles Delivers
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 …
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
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … 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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