For a film with
in its title there’s not a lot made of the unique qualities of that particular city. The titular metropolis is so vaguely drawn that it could have quite have easily been Battle: Any American City. One can only assume it was out of sheer laziness that Columbia Pictures decided to set the film in their own backyard. Los Angeles
The earth is under attack from an alien race hell bent on wiping out the population for the water supply. It is seen from the point of view of a squad of US Marines. (I can just imagine the pitch: “It’s War of the Worlds meets Private Ryan”.) As the title suggests, this is a tale of soldiers in a combat zone. It is very much a war film and the shaky docu-style lends itself well to the subject matter. However, $100 million budget aside, it feels like a first feature (i.e. the director finding their feet and, while the film's far from perfect, you can see their potential). For a film with so much going on – in terms of crashes, bangs and wallops – it’s peculiarly un-engaging. This is because director Jonathan Liebesman pulls punches throughout. Just as each action set-piece gets under way it fizzles out. A big problem is the script. It’s half-baked and has a distinct lack of polish. The characters are paper thin. It also wants to be taken seriously as a war film but it’s a popcorn flick about an alien attack. The glum tone takes all the fun out of it. My view is there’s not enough cheese. Some talk of whooping ET’s ass wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Aaron Eckhart – as always - delivers the goods and he’s well cast as the dependable Staff Sergeant. There’s nothing wrong with any of the cast. It’s just a shame about the words coming out of their mouths.