Cert: 12a Runtime: 116 mins Director: Jonathan Liebesman Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena, Bryce Cass, Ne-Yo
Battle: Los Angeles begins by thrusting us straight into the action. A platoon of marines braces themselves in a chopper, under heavy fire from forces unknown. A look out the back shows a scene of massive destruction, fire raining down from the sky, chaos all around. For a few moments, right there, the movie seems like it’s on the right path. Then the story shifts, flashing back to twenty-four hours before the inevitable alien invasion, back when all the characters we’re about to see in battle just happened to be standing around delivering monologues which tell the audience everything there is to know about their personal life. The alien force, operating with ground forces, begins to overrun the various cities they arrive at, and LA is no different. The marine squad led by Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is dispatched to attempt to retrieve possible civilian presence from a Santa Monica police station behind the front lines of the fighting. They encounter heavy resistance, and must find a way back to their forward operating base while keeping the civilians under their protection, and keeping themselves alive !
Battle: Los Angeles is certainly no masterpiece. It doesn’t deviate much from the alien invasion template in regards to the broad strokes of its plot, that being said, the film glues you to the screen. Aaron Eckhart proves again his ability to sell a character, and he imbues Sergeant Nantz with a vigor and a degree of weariness that you buy into. Most of the other actors do a decent job of making us believe in these people as Marines in the thick of combat. A few recognizable names take roles, including Michele Rodriguez as an Air Force tech who joins up with the Marines and Bridget Moynihan as a civilian they are trying to protect, but neither has much to work with in regards to their characters other than to look tough or scared, respectively. All this said it’s worth watching to some degrees, it’s a mash-up of Independence Day with District 9.