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Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

A 2011 movie directed by Jonathan Liebesman.

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It Ain't "Independence Day," Thank God!

  • Mar 29, 2011
  • by
Rating:
+3
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 whetted my appetite.  It looked as if it would be better than most alien invasion films.  There were no wisecracks from a Will Smith-type character a la Independence Day.  It appeared to be gritty much like District 9, but with the aliens once again as the bad guy.  Heck, there wasn't even a crazy old guy who claimed he had been knowing about the coming invasion as in many, many previous alien invasion flicks.

Still, I was leary of this film for the very simple fact that it was an alien invasion film.  Soon enough, though, I broke down and bought a ticket to the show.  I was very surprised.

The film starts with the end, but it is revealed in a way that you still aren't entirely sure what has happened.  From there, it reverts back twenty-four hours and we get brief descriptions of most of the primary players in the film.  There's Staff Sgt. Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), a seasoned and ready-to-retire soldier who has a questionable record as a Marine.  We also meet the rookie 2nd Lt. Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), who's wife is expecting their first child.  Then more players are introduced such as Cpl. Lockett (Corey Hardrict), Cpl. "Specks" (Ne-Yo), and Pfc. Lenihan (Noel Fisher).  Attachment to these characters is developed rather quickly, but once the action started, it became difficult to keep up with exactly who was whom. 

As each character's profile is revealed, the viewer catches glimpses of what is about to happen via television reports.  Meteors have entered the solar system, and then Earth's atmosphere at an alarmingly fast rate.  What's puzzling, though, is that they appear to slow down just before impact.

Soon enough, the alien forces begin their invasion of our planet.  The armed forces of Earth struggle to hold the line and eventually begin falling back to safer ground.  The aliens base all of their operations out of coastal cities, pushing inward but maintaining their presence on the coast.

With cities like San Diego and Santa Monica already taken, the Marine forces in California are told to make a stand at Los Angeles.  If they fail, the Air Force will come in and nuke the city in a desperate attempt to stop the invasion forces.

Lt. Martinez' group is sent on a rescue mission to find civilians penned down in an LAPD substation and return them to safety.  With time working against them, they wind through the littered and damaged streets of the city.  Along the way, they face off against squads of invaders and begin to learn more and more about them, their technology, and their plans for the planet.  They also pair up with a group from the US Army and Air Force Tech Sergeant Santos (Michelle Rodriguez).

Like most alien invasion films, Battle Los Angeles features many standard scenarios such as individuals who make great sacrifices for the rest of the group, individuals taking charge of situations where you'd least expect them to, and members of the group who conveniently have knowledge of the invaders or find solutions to whatever predicament they happen to be in.  There's also the necessity to find out why the aliens are invading and what must be done to stop them.

Unlike most alien invasion films, Battle:  LA focuses more on the military workings within the group, trust issues, fear and individual struggles, as well as pumping up the patriotism big time.  In all honesty, I can say that this film's portrayal of the US Marine Corps made me even more prouder of them than I already am.  Granted, they are fighting fictional beings, but you can't help but pull for the Marines as they take on great odds.

As I've already stated, we are introduced to a number of characters during the film and given only brief and simple reasons to attach ourselves to them.  Somehow this weak character development actually strenghtens the film in my opinion.

As far as special effects go, I thought they were excellent.  The weapons and other devices used by the aliens looked great, and the aliens themselves were pretty cool too.  I was particularly fond of what was done with their weapons and armor.

When the credits finally rolled on Battle:  LA, I felt as if I'd watched a very good film that, despite being held to the generic outline of all alien invasion films, managed to stand above the pack.  It's not a great film and I'm sure many people will not like its formulaic plot at times, hence the three star rating.  However, I do believe that science fiction audiences and fans of military/war films will enjoy Battle:  Los Angeles.
It Ain't It Ain't It Ain't

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March 30, 2011
This doesn't seem like a film I would enjoy too much, but very well written review!
March 30, 2011
Thanks!
 
March 29, 2011
I liked it, as well. I think the critics really pegged this one wrong b/c of the obvious pro-military stance. Great fun, and a great performance by Aaron Eckhart.
 
March 29, 2011
agreed. I actually appreciated the action and the set designs. It really looked like a warzone!
 
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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 . 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 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
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
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #17
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie

Wiki

  • 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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