Sunday, March 13, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles, A Review



There have been countless alien invasion movies over the years, but Battle LA takes a somewhat different route in its interpretation of the genre. Imagine if Independence Day merged with Call Of Duty, then you'll have an idea of what to expect.

The movie opens with a bang as a group of marines are being flown into the war zone on a chopper. Just when you think you are going to be tossed straight into the action, you are taken back 24 hours to be introduced to the main characters. It's characterization by numbers as the squad includes a troubled sergeant, just back from a disastrous mission, set to retire. The virginal, not too bright rookie, the psychologically troubled grunt, a pair of best buds out wedding shopping with one of the fiancees, and, best of all, the young, hotshot lieutenant complete with equally young, pregnant wife. At this point I became worried that we would be set for a formulaic military movie. Once the action kicked off those worries were assuaged.

The movie focuses on this small band of marines and their 3 hour mission to rescue civilians holed up in a police station. The time limit is based on the fact that the city of Santa Monica is going to be wiped out in an air strike. Once the marines hit the smoke filled streets the action, and tension ramps up significantly. The use of handheld cameras and quick, shadowy glimpses of the aliens make for an unsettling experience.

From there on in we are treated to a number of terrific action set pieces; a backyard swimming pool shoot-out, a harrowing 2 mile drive on a city bus, and an underground search and destroy mission being among the best. The effects are astounding, the aliens and their weaponry wonderfully imagined. The acting is about as good as you would expect, Aaron Eckhart and Michael Pena being the stand-outs, for an early summer action flick. The major downfall is the script itself, some of the dialogue bordering on the laughable, but it's easy to forgive that given everything else the movie offers.

Battle LA is a movie that is definitely best experienced on the big screen, so my advice is to head on down to your local cineplex, snag a giant popcorn and strap in for the ride.

3.5 stars out of 5

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