REVIEW: \”Battle: Los Angeles\”


Battle: Los Angeles.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, another alien invasion movie.  People have tried it before. In the win column we have Independence Day and the original War of the Worlds (which scared the livin’ begesus outta me as a kid), and in the lose column a plethora of attempts, including War of the Worlds (w/ Tom Cruise) and Skyline. Skyline was so bad that one lady stood up in the theater and said “Holy crap that sucked!” Her one-line review was the only thing that saved my afternoon.  Now comes Battle: LA. I wasn’t too hopeful, but as a true Fanboy, I had to give it a shot.


In short, I liked it. I know many critics don’t. Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun Times called it “noisy, violent, ugly and stupid. Its manufacture is a reflection of appalling cynicism on the part of its makers, who don’t even try to make it more than senseless chaos. Here’s a science-fiction film that’s an insult to the words “science” and “fiction,” and the hyphen in between them.” Then again, Roger Ebert isn’t exactly what I’d call a “Fanboy”, or even someone I’d let define what constitutes Science Fiction.  I think that’s where he made his mistake. He went in thinking “Oh great. Another alien invasion movie.” It colored every thought he had from the time he grabbed his first handful of popcorn to when he walked out and tossed his empty bucket in the trash. Let’s be clear…this ISN”T and alien invasion movie.


What? It isn’t? I know…you’ve seen the trailers and the tv commercials. And yes, aliens come down in a meteoric rain and begin to wreck havoc on the major population areas of Earth. There are alien troops, alien ships and alien weapons firing everywhere. Doesn’t that make it an “alien invasion movie”? Nope.


The main focus of this movie is a bunch of Marines who find themselves behind enemy lines, fighting for their lives and the lives of a handful of civilians they have picked up. The aliens have come to the only spot within thousands of light-years with liquid water, which apparently fuels all of their technology.  Quite honestly, you could have pulled the aliens out of this movie and inserted a different attacking force (Soviets, China, Nazis, sharks with freakin’ lasers on their heads) and it still works. It give a very believable presentation of what an actual invasion would be like. There was no “cheese” to speak of. No cigar smoking or cute one-liners. Just warfare. A military movie.  The aliens were almost inconsequential to the story.


If I had to compare it to something, think “Blackhawk Down” with aliens instead of Somalis. If you go into the theater thinking “alien invasion”, you will be disappointed. Plus, the movie was shot a lot like “Blackhawk Down” with jarring, jumping, exploding camera scenes, many of which are almost disorienting. But hey…war is hell, even if you are simply a spectator eating popcorn.


I say give it a try. You’ll either like it or you won’t. If you are a Fanboy, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it. (Plus…Michelle Rodriguez. Mmmmmmm)  I’ll give it a solid B, and I usually don’t enjoy most of the drivel that spews out of Hollywood. (Once again, we come back to Skyline. Holy crap, that sucked.)  It was a good attempt at trying to remind us what we already know. War is war, whether it’s Nazis, Somalis, or a thirsty E.T.