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Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

A 2011 movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

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Don't Just Win The Battle, WIN The War....OOORAH!!!

  • Mar 13, 2011
Rating:
+3
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 to take a different approach and tries to abandon the clichés of an alien invasion movie, as it focuses the story as seen through the eyes of a group of people under enemy fire; as they learn what brotherhood, courage and fortitude really means. “Battle: Los Angeles” is NOT a sci-fi film but rather it is a military motion picture with glimpses of E.T. in it.

An alien invasion took the world by surprise and it is up to the U.S. military to mobilize to face the challenge. These aliens seem poised to annihilate the human race as they seem to appear unstoppable, the U.S. armed forces are reeling as the aliens are advancing into Santa Monica. On the ground, a team of marines led by Lt. Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) and Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) are tasked with evacuating a part of the city and rescuing a group of scared civilians (with Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena). The marines must protect them and take them to safety, with a relentless alien enemy in their path that is extremely difficult to stop.

                          A scene from "Battle: Los Angeles."

                          Michael Pena, Ne-Yo, Joey King and Aaron Eckhart in "Battle: Los Angeles."

                          A scene from "Battle: Los Angeles."

I am really not sure what to make of “Battle: Los Angeles”, I thought it was refreshing to see someone try to abandon the clichés of an alien invasion film (but it still does). The direction has no intentions of creating a movie of sci-fi sensibilities, this is essentially a military drama with strong themes of war and of brotherhood. The script by Christopher Bertolini seems to have been inspired heavily by war movies, and the direction inspired most especially by “Black Hawk Down”. It wasn’t such a bad idea to try something different, but I guess in abandoning one cliché, the film stoops to the clichés of another genre. This wouldn’t exactly be a bad thing, as long as the direction is tight, compelling and energetic. But I am not sure, the war themes in the film feel a little heavy-handed and a little too forced (there is also a sentimental speech).

I am a sucker for war movies, and I have to admit, they all have their brand of formula. There is the old guard and the new guard; a sarge with a questionable past and a new commander unproven in battle. The direction and the script goes forth with light characterization as we see our marines relate to their family and friends. It does make the characters seem real, but at the same time, they feel very cliché. I know life sometimes feels cliché but hey, there has to be a heart to all this. The group has their own issues within and they have to learn to work together, and at the same time learn the meaning of true brotherhood and on and on, they say “hurrah“ or “no one gets left behind“.

                        Michelle Rodriguez as Corporal Adriana Santos in "Battle: Los Angeles."

                       A scene from "Battle: Los Angeles."

                       Aaron Eckhart in "Battle: Los Angeles."

I have mixed feelings about the direction. I thought it was a little weird to have a movie like this begin with the ending (24 hours after). It almost hampers all areas of suspense that the film should’ve achieved. But I suppose it wasn’t the script’s intention to keep the viewer in suspense, we somewhat know what happened, but what we don’t know is how our characters got there. One may say that this was an intended character study of a soldier (or soldiers); they do what they need to do, and they know what the risks are. What sustains them is their ability to stand next to each other while they stare death in the eyes and this film can even serve as a 'recruitment vehicle' for potential military candidates (yes, there is quite a bit of flag-waving). There is just nothing stronger than the resolve of a man trying to fight for something. That said, the dialogue needed a little polishing up as some spots felt very obligatory; I thought some parts of the dialogue needed ‘sprucing up‘, and done with better timing. It was nice at least that Eckhart and company (Yay, Michelle Rodriguez!) seemed to have sustained a sense of chemistry about the film’s screenplay.

                           Michelle Rodriguez in "Battle: Los Angeles."

                           A scene from "Battle: Los Angeles."

Not that the movie doesn’t have its share of intense thrills and action. The film doesn’t let up in the scenes of gunfire and explosions; and the set designs really do look like a war zone; it feels like a war is indeed being waged in the city after the invasion. It starts off as a routine scouting-rescue mission and the direction keeps the enemy in a shadow of mystery as our team is assaulted by unknown forces. They get to know their enemy the longer they fight; the longer the battle goes on, their military trained eye manages to see the enemy’s weakness and how best to combat them. The aliens seemed to have been enhanced by ‘bionics’ and they have a property that explains why they would want Earth. They have slightly more advance weaponry than ourselves; But there are no force shields or laser guns, but the battles are waged mostly by ground forces with some military support.

The direction keeps an even pace as it goes to one encounter to another. One noteworthy scene would be the battle on the freeway and the film does have a climactic encounter in the climax. The film has loads of intense action, but the dramatic impact feels rather uneven. The film is the beginning of a war; and war always takes more time and effort in fighting. “Battle Los Angeles” is rightfully named, it is a display of military men’s strength to fight the battles for us to win a war. After all, the strength and resolve of a volunteer won us two World Wars. A war movie that is worth a look, at least once.

Timid Recommendation, Rent it First [3 Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Battle: Los Angeles."  Teaser Poster Art for "Battle: Los Angeles."


 
 
 
 
 
Don't Just Win The Battle, WIN The War....HURRAH!!! Don't Just Win The Battle, WIN The War....HURRAH!!!

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July 21, 2012
Great review and action pictures too! Keep up the great work. The studio should pay you for this review.
 
June 29, 2011
Ok so this is yet another movie i wasnt gonna watch and knew nothing about until i saw that you had reviewed it. I must say it wasnt bad as far as both alien and military flicks go, i was moderatly impressed. I would like to point out that michelle rodriguez did a great job in this one, im getting really tired of all female roles in the military being shown as "barbie goes to the military" types. Thax for the review it was awsome as usual!
July 01, 2011
I agree, a lot of critics didn't like it, but as far as war movies go (I firmly believe this isn't sci-fi) this was pretty good. I mean I just like the way the set designs reflected the atmosphere of a real war and how it somehow portrayed guerilla warfare. Rodriguez truly fit that role, I loved it when she said: "...I didn't get this far in the military because of my good looks.." Thanks, Meghan! Are you back in the service?...I mean you enlisted again?
July 02, 2011
Im still technically a reservist but since i am a former full time member they asked my if i would come back out here for some revised training...so here ive been for like a month...and let me tell you it is freekin hot!
 
March 20, 2011
Probably won't see this one...just not interested. But nice review. :)
March 20, 2011
yeah. I cannot exactly give it a full recommendation but it may prove to be a fun watch for action junkies.
March 20, 2011
Well, I might check it out then...when I'm in the mood for action. I did watch "Unstoppable," and I enjoyed that one. I might write a review for it once I get more time in my life. :-P
 
March 15, 2011
After what Ebert said about this film, this is defintely going to be a rental...
March 17, 2011
How have you been, Husher? Glad to see you around again!
 
March 15, 2011
I heard it was a fun movie if you could get past the one dimensional characts and you hadn't seen the countless other movies it lifted inspiration from. I still want to see it though, great review!
March 15, 2011
yeah, this was one of those things that folks will be put right in the middle of the action. It is cliche and the dialogue limited in range and unoriginal, but I had fun with it. I liked the fact that the movie actually made a war movie with aliens. Thanks for the read!
 
March 14, 2011
Between the military protecting L.A. and the aliens bent on destroying it, you know who I'm cheering for, right?
March 14, 2011
you're cheering for the aliens? wonder when they're going to have a movie where time-traveling warrior-wenches attack L.A. ....? now that's a movie! LOL!
March 14, 2011
Ah, my demented friend, you will let me know I'm sure.
March 14, 2011
You have to admit warrior-wenches can be more interesting and original than aliens attacking L.A.
March 15, 2011
check out what Sharrie said under your comment....
March 15, 2011
Um, wow!
 
March 13, 2011
They are coming for lunch & u're their number 1 favorite, LOL....
March 14, 2011
Huh? I don't understand....
March 14, 2011
I think she's suggesting that the aliens want to eat you.
March 14, 2011
But woopak's don't taste good and we give high cholesterol. LOL!
March 15, 2011
I'd have to check with your lady friends about that, LOL!
March 17, 2011
you shocked Orlok with your response LOL!!
March 17, 2011
Really? How so?! ;-)
March 18, 2011
he goes like "Um, wow!"
 
March 13, 2011
ANother great review WP, I think I will wait for the rental but I want to check it out for sure.
March 13, 2011
granted the dialogue was flimsy and the direction a bit uneven, but the action and set designs did look like a warzone.
 
March 13, 2011
William: I had been real curious about this one. I was wondering if this one would be another Skyline/ Cloverfield or something closer to District 9.. Very interesting critique buddy! It sounds worthy of my time for sure.
March 13, 2011
Just give it a look even as a rental. Just try to go into it without any expectations, and I want readers of my reviews to make up their own minds, and I cannot totally diss this one since it had its decent points. It was rough on several areas (the dialogue was wanting and the script cliched) but I liked some of the action/battle scenes. Thanks for the read!
 
1
More Battle: Los Angeles reviews
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
posted in Picktainment
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
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
posted in Picktainment
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
Caption
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
William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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About this movie

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  • 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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