April 24, 2011

Review: Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

"Check your brain at the door and just enjoy the coolness of it all..."

Sub-Genre- Invasion/Sci-Fi 
Cast Members of Note- Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan and... Ne-Yo?

Once again, Hollywood has Aliens invading the Earth, and this time they're here for our water (because we have a lot of that.) There's no Will Smith to help us this time, so naturally Aaron Eckhart and his rag-tag band of Marines are called upon to step up and do the job. He fist fought the Earth in The Core and saved humanity, so I have pretty strong confidence in his world-saving abilities in this one too.

Yes, those are the world-saving fists.
Along the way, the Marines rescue a bunch of civilians and decide that the new mission is to get them to safety, which is extraction point Alpha Whisky Tango Charlie or something. I'm pretty sure that's treason, as they were ordered to guard a Police Station, but Aaron Eckhart is a softy, and just doesn't give a fuck. Yes, a Staff Sergeant CAN have a heart of gold! There's not really much else to say plot wise: everyone runs around shooting and hiding, and of course, dying. Oh, and Aaron Eckhart emotes. A lot. He also saves some kids and teaches them how to love again. Or maybe they teach each other.

Aliens interrupt the Staff Sergeant's game of "Don't ask, don't tell, or I'll kill your puppy."
If I had to describe this movie in one quick sentence, it would have to be something along the lines of "It's like Black Hawk Down with Aliens." The reason that the movie worked so well for us, was that it played more like a War picture than a Sci-Fi extravaganza. Much like Monsters and District 9 were more about the humans in the movie than the Aliens, BLA focused on the human condition; sure there's a huge, global, Alien Invasion going on, but this isn't a crap-fest like ID4 or Transformers, where the spectacle of it all rules the screen.

No, the human conflict drives this movie forward. We get plenty of Alien battle goodness, don't get me wrong, but it just doesn't seem as fluffy as most Sci-Fi flicks do. Then again, maybe I'm just a sucker for awesome special effects and sappy speeches. And Michelle Rodriguez killing things. Either way, this is a fun flick that didn't make us feel less intelligent for watching it.For the most part.

There were one or two moments in the film that felt really... cheesy. Chief amongst them, is the scene where Aaron Eckhart starts naming off his fallen troops by name, rank, and serial number... I'm sure it was supposed to be deeply touching, but it came off as schmaltzy. I love an emotional catharsis as much as the next guy, but I prefer my tender moments to be touching, not sadly embarrassing.

Deep, deep thinking is going on here.
This movie made me aware that we stereotype rappers far too easily. We think them street savvy and rough, and don't stop to consider that maybe there is a multi-talented, multi-layered artist inside of that gruff exterior, just dying to express themselves by playing thugs, drug dealers and car-jackers on film. Good for you Ne-Yo. Now go and teach DMX how to act, would you?

Exploding Aliens and dying humans abound, so there is a decent amount of the red stuff in this one.

The only thing naked in this movie was Aaron Eckhart's soul.

He cares so much... maybe too much!
Marines can pretty much defeat anything, Oorah! Also, Michelle Rodriguez is in every movie where a manly hot chick is needed.

Easy, Michelle. We get it.
As "mindless" actions flicks go, this one is pretty damned entertaining. Better still, it's not totally mindless; it tugs at the emotions a bit, and actually gives us characters that we end up pulling for. Battle:LA isn't wining any Oscars or anything, that's for sure, but if you like your Alien invasions loud, action-packed and fun, then you really can't go wrong here. I think it fits in well with the POV/Hand Held sub-genre, along with flicks like Monsters and District 9.



Even though she let Tom Brady knock her up, we like Bridget Moynahan. Tom Brady? I guess it's better than Ben Rapelesberger. Then again, she's banging McG now, so Tom Brady doesn't seem so bad at all by comparison...


  1. This movie Bored the fucking shit out of me. Therefore i thought it awful.
    Same goes for Skyline.

  2. Skyline was awful, but BLA was fun on a base level for us.