3/15/11

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES - REVIEW


Alien invasion disaster movies have always been a hit-and-miss affair. From the old Earth vs The Flying Saucers-type B movies to more recent big budget efforts like Independence Day. You'd think such a simple concept would be pretty straight-forward and easy to get right.

Not so.

Unfortunately Battle: LA, like so many similar films before it, fails to deliver. Instead we are given a kind of B-side cliched war flick with rubbish District 9-style aliens thrown in. Earlier this year we had the awful Skyline in the same vein and although Battle: LA isn't qute as dire, it's still pretty poor all around.

It's like the film contains all the shittest cliches and flaws which made Independence Day so cheesy but minus Jeff Goldblum, Randy Quaid and ANY sense of fun whatsoever. What's left? Not very much alas.

Early on we're introduced to the film's main characters: a bunch of Marines, who are about as likeable and interesting as the plastic chair I'm currently sitting in and deserve long, painful deaths way before they're even sent into the battlefield. These guys are the film's constant plague, with their silly nicknames "Specks", "Doc"...(who are they, fairy tale dwarves?) with their factory-line pre-defined personalities and functions, with their idiotic lines and rubbish acting...even Michelle Rodriguez isn't good (read: bad) enough to save the day. As for Aaron Eckhart, you just end up feeling bad for the guy and by the time he lets out this ridiculously long and patriotic monologue you'll be wishing for instant death also.

I mean, it's not like there was no potential here: a war movie in a sci-fi setting has been done well before. I'm thinking of Starship Troopers which dealt with its silly premise brilliantly to create something truly original, very clever, hugely entertaining and just altogether great. This, however, is dead serious and suffers a great deal because of it. I kept wishing for Kurt Russell's Snake from Escape From New York to pop up and take over! Hell, even with the bad rep it's gotten over the years, at least Escape From LA was fun!

Battle: Los Angeles, however, is incredibly dull from start to finish. It's impossible to care about anyone, it feels at least half an hour too long, it has nothing new to offer or say, it's badly written, poorly acted, fairly made but clumsily executed...it's just a big disappointment.

Sorry, I wanted it to be good too but I guess they can't all be like Spielberg's War Of The Worlds...

Oh shut up, it was good.

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