battle los angeles | movie review

Posted on April 27, 2012

0


I would warn you that there are a few spoilers in this review, but the word “spoil” means to diminish/destroy the value/quality of something. Sso I don’t think it applies here.

Late last night I watched Battle Los Angeles with Gregster – my movie loving buddy. Knowing that my wifey would in no way entertain a viewing of such a movie [she has a list of things that cannot be present in a movie if I expect her to sit through one with me: helicopters, submarines, Bruce Willis, etc.] and generally being in no real rush to see it myself, I’ve been waiting an opportunity to present itself for me to watch what I had a feeling would be a similar experience to watching one of Michael Bay’s big screen atrocities.
Well. I’ll start by stating for the record that when the credits were rolling, I was of the opinion that it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting it to be. So far as alien vs human battle movies go this isn’t by any means the worst of the bunch. However… when I started writing this review and thinking about the movie more and more, I began to realise that I’d been oh so very wrong.
For the other record, my two favourite alien vs human battle movies are highly underrated Japanese thrill-ride Ritânâ [Returner], and of course, the absolutely awesome Cameron classic… Aliens.

Battle Los Angeles presents us with aliens crashing into the sea off the coast of LA and it soon becomes apparent [through exhaustive use of CNN news footage] that these are not the friendly kind of alien that wish to unload their otherworldly knowledge and wisdom on us. Oh no, these are the kind of aliens that want to unload their otherworldly weapons on us.

We follow a group of marines [“oo-rah!”] as they head into battle to extract a group of civilians from who have taken it upon themselves to hide from the heavily armed aliens in an LA police station, deep in “the zone”. Aaron Eckhart is the only real recognisable face amongst the group of marines, apart from Michelle Rodriguez who looked rather more feminine in the enjoyable Machete [“Machete don’t dance.”]. Eckhart plays Staff Sergeant Nantz who has just signed his retirement papers when guess what starts dropping into the ocean?… What are the odds, eh?
Michelle Rodriguez is Tech Sergeant Santos, who was [as far as I could tell] the only female in the movie, apart from a screaming mother who happens to be a vet [that’s veterinarian not veteran!]. Who – wait for it – thinks that because she’s a vet somehow qualifies her as an expert on alien biological lifeforms! Because as we all know, aliens are a lot like rabbits. Sadly the rest of the marines were indistinguishable from each other with all their battle gear on covered in dust, amongst the smoke, flying rubble, explosions, etc, which unfortunately meant that as they go through their varying death scenes, you’re not too sure who it is getting totalled! The battle scenes and skirmishes with the aliens are quite well done [for the most part] and the aliens themselves are quite intimidating and for a second I did wonder how the humans were going to defeat them. They I remembered that there would most likely be an achilles heel of sorts. Yup, right again. Where there are alien drones there’s a control centre, and where there’s a control centre there’s a mothership and where there’s a mothe… anyway enough of that.

The main problem I had with BLA was that it was just so boringly predictable. For example, when some of the marines were sitting in the chopper on the way to the war zone writing notes to their loved ones I just knew they were sealing their fate, I felt like shouting “Don’t write that – you’ll definitely not come home!”. Then the mandatory trap setting scenario, where it will only work properly if… you guessed it… someone stays behind and activates it manually and therefore dying in the process. Seriously, it’s full of these! There is so much that’s signposted in this movie it’s actually really difficult to *not* know what’s going to happen next. It’s like they made it with a copy of ‘Alien Invasion Tropes for Dummies’ at hand.
Now, my opinion is that while I think that movies that are predictable is just down to lazy scriptwriting, but if it’s done in a fun and interesting way then it kind of makes it ok.

To conclude. Director Liebesman, whose other movies I have avoided quite successfully up until now, has fashioned a rather obvious, very repetitive, get from A to B to C, run of the mill movie that simply resembles nothing more than a series of cutscenes from one of the plethora of generic violent videogames that saturate the market.

On the plus side – it was so noisy it kept us awake.

Advertisements
Posted in: Uncategorized