Saturday, 12 March 2011

Battle: Los Angeles

For a film with Los Angeles 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.

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.


  1. It seems strange that the location plays such a minor part in proceedings as it was my understanding that this was the first in a franchise of 'Battles' that would each have a new geographical location.

    From your review and others this strong concept seems to have been watered down by committee into cliche ridden nonsense. I want to see Aaron Eckhart doing interesting stuff again, not merely using his Dark Knight kudos and square jaw to prop up shite like this.

    "In the Company of Men 2: Back in the Habit" please or at least "The Core 2: The Secret of the Ooze.

  2. Love Happens 2: Tokyo Drift?

  3. In The Company of Men 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold?

  4. I must say that the film did reek of, A bunch of suits sitting around a table discussing film ideas.
    Here is how it may have sounded.

    John: "Well guys, as you may already know that District 9 made a shit ton of money and was well received...many it made a shit ton of money. How can we milk this genre, any thoughts."

    Lou: "I was watching Black Hawk Down the other day. And even thou it is a good film, It would have been a lot better with aliens".

    John "That's a great idea Lou, It'll make millions."

    And that is properly how Battle:LA was spawned.

  5. I think you might be spot on Hatton 41. I'm mad about alien invasions, real or imagined (please be real!!)but found nothing very entertaining here. Nice FX though...

  6. Worst screenplay of all time?

    "I can help, I'm a vetenarian"

    Damn near close me thinks. Utter turgid and pointless shite.
    Los Angeles, Iraq, Weston-super-mare who would know or even care.

  7. Contrary to my review (ah, the shame!) it was shot in Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. As for the script, "you're my little marine" (to the kid) was a particular low point for me. As a figures update, it took $210,757,681 worldwide + over $16million in US DVD sales. Not sure if it's enough to spawn a sequel but not too shabby for such a piece of crap, me thinks.

  8. Fantastic money for two days work CGI'ing Aaron Eckhart's limp corpse onto a Sega Megadrive alien invasion game.