Movie | Science Fiction | 116 Minutes
Rating: Skip It!
“Battle: Los Angeles” is a difficult film for me to review. There were parts I liked, parts I didn’t, and parts I enjoyed for all the wrong reasons. In the end, the film is a fairly shoddy attempt at melding “Independence Day” and “Black Hawk Down,” and suffers as a result.
Immediately, the eye is drawn to the camerawork, and not in a good way. Shot in the documentary style so common to action films these days, not a single shot is immune to the shaking jitteriness of a handheld camera. While this technique can have merit when emphasizing the hectic nature of a scene, using it during a conversation in a flower shop only serves to cheapen the effect when it’s needed most (and makes the audience nauseous).
Once you get past the vertigo-inducing visuals, though, there isn’t much left to “Battle: Los Angeles.” The characters aren’t developed and fit into several action movie stereotypes, such as “the guy who was two days away from retirement,” “the guy whose brother got killed in combat,” “the rookie” and “the action chick,” among others. Corny inspirational speeches and witless one-liners make up most of the dialogue that isn’t someone yelling a command over the “pop, pop, pop” of gunfire.
Perhaps most egregiously, the movie doesn’t seem to take its own plot seriously. One memorable moment has a pair of marines scouting out their alien enemies, and one marine wonders if the aliens are just grunts like them — sent into combat at the whim of a man behind a desk. In the very next scene, one of these aliens they just tried to humanize is being brutally cut open, while still alive, so they can determine the most effective way to kill them.
All in all, “Battle: Los Angeles” can be a fun watch, if only for the fiery explosions and frequent firefights. As a serious movie though, it fails on all fronts; with weak acting, veneer-thin characterization and camerawork that would make great cinematographers of years past cringe. Do yourself a favor and skip this movie, or at least wait until it’s been tossed in the bargain bin. It’s just not worth it.