Battle: Los Angeles (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/03/2011

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 116 mins

Rabidly gung ho action thriller that plays like Black Hawk Down with aliens, though the impressive special effects and decent action sequences are badly let down by a script that ensures no cliché gets left behind.

What's it all about?
Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, Battle: Los Angeles begins with aliens invading Earth and wiping out the civilian populations of major cities around the world, using a combination of zippy spaceships and heavily armed ground troops. Aaron Eckhart plays Michael Nantz, an about-to-retire Staff Sergeant who's given just three hours to rescue a group of left-behind civilians from a decimated LA suburb before a planned air strike blows the city to smithereens.

Nantz's platoon comprises every known cliché imaginable, from the hot-headed team leader with the pregnant wife back home (Ramon Rodriguez) to the still-a-virgin rookie (Noel Fisher), the corporal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (True Blood's Jim Parrack) and another soldier (Cory Hardrict) who blames Nantz for the death of his brother on a previous mission. And when the survivors turn out to include an attractive vet (Bridget Moynahan), a noble single father (Michael Pena), an impossibly cute young boy (Bryce Cass) and a feisty tech sergeant (Michelle Rodriguez), it begins to seem more like Battle of the Clichés than Battle: Los Angeles.

The Good
Eckhart and Rodriguez are both good, but the other characters are largely indistinguishable, despite the film's best efforts to help you remember their names by giving them all introductory captions at the beginning. The effects are extremely impressive and Liebesman orchestrates a number of decent action scenes, particularly a sequence involving a bus and a grenade.

The Bad
That said, the film tails off a bit in the middle section and the action gradually gets reduced to a lot of running, shouting and shooting, with the overall effect being not unlike watching someone attempting the final level of a complex video game.

Similarly, the script is so ridiculously hackneyed that it's genuinely laughable in places, particularly when Eckhart gives a lengthy, moving speech about duty, only to break off with “But that's not important right now,” in a moment that seems suspiciously like a deliberate tribute to Leslie Nielsen.

Worth seeing?
Battle: Los Angeles is well made and delivers plenty of gunfire and explosions but the paper thin characters and cliché-riddled script ensure that this is closer to Skyline than District 9, quality-wise.

Film Trailer

Battle: Los Angeles (12A)
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Content updated: 20/09/2018 09:39

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