I’m not generally a fan of war films or alien invasion films, but when you combine the two, somehow it all worked out. Battle: Los Angeles follows SSgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) and a group of Marines who are trying to save civilians from an alien invasion in Los Angeles. The characters really are the B-plot to the film, as the action scenes and invasion really are the highlights of the film. This isn’t to say that the characters aren’t interesting, but there wasn’t much “real” dialogue except for telling people where to go and when to blow things up.
The characters who aren’t named Michael Nantz don’t have much of a backstory, and I think that was a good call from the screenwriters. Too much backstory would’ve detracted from the battles as well as added on a lot more running time (as the film is already a few minutes short of 2 hours). That being said, the characters played by Michelle Rodriguez and Michael Pena were probably the strongest parts of the cast.
As Kyal pointed out when he reviewed the film in theaters, Battle: Los Angeles is pretty much Black Hawk Down with aliens. While these aliens look more like Transformers and less like E.T., the film always looked realistic and it was hard to tell where real camera shots ended and CGI took over. Unlike X-Men Origins: Wolverine and some other films that had great CGI in some places and HORRIBLE CGI in others, Battle: Los Angeles looked beautiful on Blu-ray and was very crisp and clear in detail.
Battle: Los Angeles probably would’ve faired a little better in the box office if it didn’t come out roughly four months after the much worse alien invasion flick Skyline. However, I don’t think this hurt the numbers too much, but coming out onto Blu-ray only 3 months after being in theaters is a bit confusing. Bonus features weren’t lacking, however, and it was very interesting to see how they put this film together and even more interesting to see where they shot the film (I’ll give you one clue: it isn’t Los Angeles).
The one thing I hope from the film is that there are more films in the series that take place where the other invasions happened (like Britain, China, etc) because it will be interesting to see how other civilizations handle the invasion.
Overall, Battle: Los Angeles won’t win any awards outside of the special effects category, but the film is overall fun and has lots of action. For fans of Black Hawk Down, Transformers or any good war-action film, you won’t be disappointed.
Final Grade: 8.5/10