So, exactly 15 years after Independence Day, we get another big science fiction action movie. Battle: Los Angeles is a visually impressive but dumb and painfully stereotypical alien invasion movie. We will be following a group of marines as they try and repel the alien threat. So, basically, this is Black Hawk Down but with aliens. Even the camerawork is similar with gritty first-person shots that put you right in the center of the action. Luckily, this isn’t one of those found-footage movies. However, the camera is so shaky at times that you’ll almost get nauseous. Luckily it improves over time and gets more stable.
The thing I like about Battle: Los Angeles is the action starts right away. We won’t spend any time getting to know the characters or the state of the world. Nope, just wham bam aliens are here and we have to fight them. Oops, what’s this now, we’re going back in time to get to know our one-dimensional characters after all. Ahhh shit, here we go again with the bonding, the military, and all the other usual shit. Luckily, in about twenty minutes this snooze fest will be over. What happens next is a gloriously over-the-top and style-over-substance experience.
You can clearly see what they were going for and they weren’t letting a little thing like logic get in the way of those scenes. We want to have aliens coming to Earth as meteors but as soon as they land they start the war thus eliminating the need for meteors in the first place. The aliens also have high-tech weapons and ships capable of destroying any resistance they meet from afar. And yet they decide to deploy ground troops evening the odds for our marines. This is just a taste of what’s going to be happening in this movie.
Battle: Los Angeles is definitely not a good movie. The plot is paper-thin, a script full of awkwardly grand “speeches” that were supposed to illicit emotion instead of laughter. I could go on and on but I want to leave more for you to discover. On the plus side, we have the sheer entertainment factor. So, if you’re looking for something stupid but shiny that requires zero brain effort, you’ve just found it. Just get some friends, beer, and weed, and let the games begin. Although I did watch this movie completely alone and still had loads of fun.
I mean, our lead character Sgt. Michael Nantz is suffering from the Danny Glover Lethal Weapon syndrome. Meaning he only has a few days of active service before his long-awaited retirement. And, you guessed it, the aliens attack just before that happens. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s truly fascinating to watch a crew this unbridled and unbothered with creativity and originality. They just went for it and the results were, well, extraordinary.
While the movie was poorly received by critics and most of the audiences around the world, it actually made $212 million on a $80 million budget. And you know what this means, we can expect a sequel pretty soon. Aaron Eckhart said that filming Battle: Los Angeles was a lot of fun and that he would love to reprise his role of tough sergeant leading his men into battle against aliens. He also added he would like to do it in Paris. Wouldn’t we all Aaron, wouldn’t we all? Finally, if you’re looking for some good alien invasion movies do check out District 9 and War of the Worlds, 2005 edition.
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writer: Christopher Bertolini
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Cory Hardrict, Ne-Yo (what a dumb name…), Michelle Rodriguez
Fun Facts: The real Battle of Los Angeles happened back in 1942 when unidentified flying aircraft were seen above the city prompting the anti-aircraft guns to fire in a frenzy. The first thought was this was aliens then the Japanese although the most realistic explanation is that was a weather balloon combined with a trigger-happy anti-aircraft gun operators.