Saturday, January 28, 2012

Battle Los Angeles (2011)

Battle Los Angeles (2011) Dir. by Jonathan Liebesman

A Marine Staff Sergeant who has just had his retirement approved goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.

Liebesman is kind of a hit and miss director. And when I say that, I mean that he is usually hit and miss in the same film. I think the only film of his that I truly like, and it usually gets quite a bad wrap, is Darkness Falls. The TCM: The Beginning, and The Killing Room are his other full feature films, and while they are mildly entertaining they don't quite exhibit what I think he is probably capable of. Battle LA falls right in line with that theme. With Liebesman schedule to give Clash of the Titans of makeover in Wrath of the Titans, we will see if he can manage to fix one of the catastrophic remakes of our time.

The characters of Battle LA are about as generic as you can expect from a military movie, and they don't stray too far from that. The old guy who is supposed to be retiring coming back to save the day (kinda sounds like Bruce Willis should have got the part), the young Lieutenant who has risen through the ranks despite his age, Michelle Rodriguez as the girl who can kick it with the dudes (she has probably played this role twenty times, and then the rest of the cast is filled with people just being soldiers or civilians.

The special effects are mostly likely the meatiest part of the film, and they don't disappoint when they are on the screen. The creature/alien design was done really well and quite unique, but extremely underused. I get it that they were trying to do a serious war drama set against the background of an alien invasion, and it worked, but it was also boring and has been done so many times that it became distracting. I was actually hoping the majority of the characters would be killed in a freak blast and the aliens would win. Of course that isn't how it happened. The ending sequence managed to make up for most of the film, as it became intense and filled with that human will to live, and the hero's power to overcome all odds to accomplish the goal, and of course the one moment when, despite all their problems, the team is able to work together to win. All in all it was a decent film, but I don't expect to revisit it any time soon. It was worth one viewing for sure.

Entertainment Value: 5/10 Robot-like Aliens
Cinematic Value: 6/10 Robot-like Aliens

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