Battle: Los Angeles
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Bridget Moynahan, and Michelle Rodriguez
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman
Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language
Appropriate for ages 13+
Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Eckhart) is on the brink of retirement from a long life spent in the Marines when he is called back on duty due to an alien attack on the Earth’s major cities, including his own: Los Angeles. With a green platoon and weapons that pale in comparison to their enemy, Nantz and his fellow Marines must find a way to not only stay alive, but take out the hostiles as well.
Many of the major critics out there are not just panning the film, but are making it sound like the first major 2011 contender for the Razzies as well. Going into the movie, I tried to keep an open mind. Many films like this have a great trailer, but that’s all you get. Personally I enjoyed the trailer and was looking forward to seeing if the other critics had any validity to their statements. Let me tell you – I think the majority of press are dead wrong about the movie and are only rejecting it because it has become cool to do so.
First off, this is a genre film built for a specific audience. That particular audience expects to see Independence Day meets Black Hawk Down and in this situation, their expectation is largely met. The film gives you a little chance to meet and get to know some of the characters in the first act, but once the Marines find out they are under attack, the film goes into full-on adrenaline mode where the intense action never stops. Unlike a film such as Independence Day, you don’t get a dozen different stories and tons of comedy relief. While that worked for that particular film, the filmmakers here simply chose to follow one group of soldiers for two hours without switching back and forth and without a whiff of a sense of humor.
I will admit that the plot is fairly simple: alien soldiers vs. human soldiers. Also, the movie does have its cheesy moments, but there are some nice emotional scenes as well that the US military would be proud to have in the film. It helps to have an actor of Eckhart’s ability who can bring an authenticity that is hard to find in genre pics like this.
What many folks were afraid of is that there were just enough special effects to make the trailer look good and the film would essentially be just another Skyline. Fortunately that is not the case here. While many of the set pieces are briefly shown in the trailer, there is much still to see on screen that will excite the target audience.
This film was never designed to be a critical success, but as an entertaining experience, this film is of a much higher quality than it is given credit for. B