Battle: Los Angeles gets into the action quickly and barely takes a moment to breathe throughout it’s two hour running time. Alien invasion flicks are nothing new, but this is the first film to really combine gritty urban warfare with an alien ground army. Think Black Hawk Down, but substitute Mogadishu with LA and Somalians with cyborg aliens. And bump it down to PG-13. It sounds crazy, it’s played completely straight, and it works.
The sincerity will turn a lot of people off. Most sci-fi movies try to soften their blows with humour, nodding and winking at the screen, gently asking the audience to come along for the ride. Battle: Los Angeles never apologizes for having US Marines fight aliens. There’s no everyman character pointing out how ridiculous the entire situation is. Will Smith never shoes up and shouts “I’ve got to get me one o’ these!” There’s only a determined and resourceful Aaron Eckhart and his magnificent chin kicking alien ass and leading the resistance.
There’s a running plot about the almost-retired Staff Seagent Nantz (Eckhart) trying to earn the trust of his fellow soldiers after he had a disastrous command in Iraq, but we’re really only in the theatres to crap explode. And explode it does! Do yourself a favour and see this movie in a big screen with good sound. It’s a spectacle piece, so come for the spectacle and ignore what little plot there is.
It’s funny that the Canadian forces recruitment advertisement preceded this movie. Join the Canadian Armed Forces and you will battle frostbite and dope smugglers. Join the Marines and maybe you will fight cyborg aliens (or sell cars).
The Canadian military needs a better ad campaign. Or a better movie. I’d totally watch Battle: Vancouver if they make it.