Sci-fi thriller Battle L.A. (directed by Jonathan Liebesman) is a classic example by which one can critique it and use the term “It’s all relative”. What the average moviegoer wants versus the critics aspiration for this film where polar opposites. The critics, who panned this film something awful, got it very wrong.
To put it plainly, Battle L.A. is awesome. Leave all your doubts behind and do not, I repeat DO NOT listen to the critics. The film delivers exactly what it’s meant to — jarring battle scenes, destruction, alien induced mayhem and griping tension. Sure it’s a cross between War of the Worlds (2005) and Black Hawk Down (2001). Yes, it’s reminiscent of Cloverfield (2008), the style of in-your-face, hand held, frenetic camera movement, and it does take an eye adjustment, but after a good 10 minutes it’s unnoticeable. Enough back-story is given so you empathize with the characters and the dialogue is not as curt as Roger Ebert makes it out to be.
Aaron Eckhart does a fantastic job portraying Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, a veteran Marine who is set to retire from duty when he gets called to the ultimate combat mission. Nantz and his unit which consists of 2nd Lieutenant William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), Cpl Jason Lockett (Cory Hardrict), Cpl Kevin Harris (Ne-Yo), and Cpl Nick Stavrou, are deployed to downtown Santa Monica with the intension of saving any remaining civilians before the big bomb drop to wipe out the aliens in the last stand in the battle for Los Angeles.
This film is not meant to massage and stimulate moviegoers intellectually. If you want that kind of film, go see The King’s Speech. Battle L.A. is pure entertainment and that it does tenfold. From start to finish the energy and fast-paced action strap you in for a hellavah ride. It pains me when critics have to pick apart the fact that the alien space ships resemble a mash up of trash compactors crushed metal, or complain ad nauseam about how the marines find a way to kill the aliens, (by shooting it underneath where the heart would be), or there were inconsistencies that were so apparent. You might notice one, but for 99% of the film you forget you’re in a movie theater. Embrace Battle L.A. for what it is, a kick-ass alien invasion flick.
It lacked the drippy patriotism of Independence Day and intricate details of why the aliens invaded earth and it was refreshing. Newscasters surmised it was for our resources, namely water and that is good enough for me. Add in saucy Michelle Rodriguez who can hold her own, portraying Air Force Sergeant Elena Santos, and the testosterone earth-saving marine unit was complete.
Bridget Moynahan however, who played a civilian found by the Marines unit, was a total waste of space. Take her out of the film and you would never notice she was missing. I gather her agent really pushed for her to get this role.
One thing about this film resonated strongly and that is the mentality of our Marines. They never leave a man behind, show the utmost bravery and fight with honor. But I didn’t need a movie to tell me that.
I am happy this film wasn’t a disappointment, was embraced by the public and managed to earn over $35 million this weekend and came in at number one at the box office. It proves that sometimes you simply can’t trust the critics.
But you can trust the average reviewer and I say go see this film, it’s great entertainment. Retreat…hell!
Running time: 116 minutes
Battle: L.A. Movie Trailer…