Aaron Eckhart michelle Rodriguez bridget moynahan MICHAEL PENA
What the director of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was trying to do here was make an alien invasion action film that mirrored Black Hawk Down. What he did instead was create such chaos on the screen that no one can tell what’s happening. Battle: LA is just one of the most recent movies that is trying to bring aliens back. They come and go at the box office, but this movie kicked off 2011 with aliens and provided a great example of some genre’s that should not be combined. Now, the basic concept here is somewhat original; they take a Marine type war driven film and change the conflict element to something extraterrestrial. It’s the delivery of this picture that doesn’t work.
Criticized Sgt. Michael Nantz (Eckhart) of the Los Angeles Marine division has been brought in after a recent mission where his entire crew was left for dead and now given his most difficult task: to help rescue remaining civilians in Santa Monica before a bomb is dropped in an attempt to alienate the infestation of aliens attacking California. Nantz and his men cannot figure out how to kill these creatures that fire weapons and appear to be wearing armor. Their robotic looking devices have already destroyed half the city and the Marines must race against the clock to save as many people as they can before the Santa Monica coast line is bombed.
This screenplay, written by a first time feature film writer, attempts to build characterization and add some heart to this movie. If you changed the element of aliens to anything else, this movie would still function properly, although it would not be any better. The script includes some really lame dialogue, even though for 75% of the film it’s gunfire and yelling. Some have compared this movie to War of the Worlds, but that movie was much more relatable and had a much better character arc. Eckhart, who delivered a fantastic performances in The Dark Knight and Rabbit Hole, doesn’t match those gripping performances here. Rodriguez is simply replaying her Resident Evil role.
It doesn’t take much thinking to realize that the studio behind this movie wanted to capitalize on the surprising success of District 9, a film that also took a compelling story and just added aliens to make it unique. Battle: LA is the prime example of Hollywood getting it wrong. These days Hollywood films, by definition, seem to be just a copy cat of something good stemming from somewhere else. The biggest irony of the production is that it was filmed in Louisiana, not in Los Angeles.
Final Thought – A headache producer with nothing but shooting, yelling and really pathetic aliens.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody