Movie Reviews

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)


Jonathan Liebesman

Aaron Eckhart
Michelle Rodriguez
Bridget Moynahan
Michael Pena
Ramon Rodriguez

Film follows a platoon of Marines as they battle an alien invasion in Los Angeles.

This is the alien invasion movie I have been waiting for. Battle: LA is literally Black Hawk Down with an alien enemy. The film strictly focuses on this group of Marines as they set upon a mission to rescue civilians holding out in a police department. This focus is a true strength of the film as it forces the audience to experience this invasion as the soldiers do – the audience doesn’t know what else is going on in other parts of the city or if there have been any developments in ways to defeat the invaders. It is a very cool idea to keep the audience tied with these eight or so members of the platoon, bringing us right into the action.

Just to get it out of the way, yes the special effects are astounding. I honestly don’t know how they pulled this film off so quietly because it seems like they literally blew up LA to get this movie done. Apart from a couple of scenes, the CGI is seamless, the best I have ever seen. Every alien aircraft is so detailed, especially the closer they get. They don’t let you get too personal with the actual aliens, but they do their job.

While the story is nothing to write home about, it is a great setup for the battle sequences and allows Aaron Eckhart to give one of his best performances to date. Unfortunately this performance probably belongs in a far better film, but it gives the audience someone in particular to root for and care about. We also get an effective cameo from Michael Pena, leaving his mark in such a short amount of time.

Like I said earlier, the only way to describe this film is Black Hawk Down with aliens. There are a number of huge action set pieces that are very intense – I actually forgot for a while that these were aliens, being that the CGI wasn’t so obvious (unlike Avatar). Battle: LA is also a very pro-military film, which I did not expect, but it was a nice and effective touch near its ending; focusing on the the strength and the willpower of those who fight for us every day.

At under two hours, the film is fast and lean, giving us a straight-forward action flick with a strong central performance. I highly recommend this movie to those looking for a good action movie, you will be surprised with the amount of intensity and the realism of the special effects. I can only hope to see a film as good as this in this upcoming summer.

Rating: PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language

Runtime: 114 minutes

Grade:  B+

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