Battle: Los Angeles, ooh-rah!

Posted: Updated:

Battle:  Los Angeles captures 3 & ½ Red Vines for being a great war movie with a sci-fi twist.

Okay, as alien invasion films go, not much has changed since the great B-movies of the 50’s:  invaders land, they want us dead.  If you just go with that premise in mind and not anything else, you will not be let down by “Battle:  Los Angeles.”  In fact you just might be mildly surprised.

Much like “District 9” was not about an alien invasion but more of a statement about apartheid and prejudice, “Battle:  Los Angeles” is more a statement about war and the brotherhood of soldiers than it is about an alien invasion. 

What starts out as a meteor shower quickly turns into a full scale invasion of the world’s targeted cities.  Like “Restrepo” or “Hurt Locker”, “Battle:  Los Angeles” follows one Marine unit’s deployment.  Their mission is to rescue stranded civilians and get them to a safe zone before the military bombs the west coast.  All this while the invaders are wiping out everything in their path. 

What’s going on in the rest of the country and the world is only mildly hinted at in brief news reports.  It’s interesting but like I said this is one unit’s story.  With the perennial hand held camera, we are just shell shocked flies on the wall of their fearless, impassioned efforts.

Aaron Eckhart stars as Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, a Marine with one foot out the door until he gets sent in on this mission.  He is suffering from the emotional wounds of his last deployment and under a cloud of suspicion because men under his command died.  Michelle Rodriguez, the only other really recognizable name or face, stars as TSgt.  Elena Santos.  Is it any surprise that she plays a tough as nails broad with deadly aim?  No, but I was surprised that she wasn’t a witch, too.  That seems to be par for the course for any character she plays. 

As you can tell from these two characters, all of them seem to fall in the ‘stock soldier’ category.  But Rodriquez and most particularly, Eckhart really excelled in their parts.
I totally bought them as soldiers and as people in this unbelievably doomed situation.

That is what impressed me the most about “Battle:  Los Angeles.”  The fight scenes were executed with as much precision as the best war movies to date.  Gritty, bloody, with no mercy, they were exciting and made what is basically a re-telling of “War of the Worlds” very real.

I confess I have passed on a lot of movies this year but for me, this has been the most overall satisfying movie of the year.  I was hoping I would enjoy this movie and “Battle:  Los Angeles” did not disappoint.  I loved it!

A preview of this movie was provided to me by the studio but it in no way effects my unbiased review.