Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Movie Review: Battle: Los Angeles

A note to all young men who watch this movie: If you join the Marines, you will not fight aliens in your backyard. You will go to Iraq where it is 120 Degrees Fahrenheit and you constantly hope that you don’t drive over an IED. The Marines in Battle: Los Angeles shout “Hoo-rah” a lot and kill lots of aliens, but the real military is hard work. Mostly.

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.


  1. I also enjoyed the movie. You're the 4th person I've read / heard compare it to Black Hawk Down. Very much so. And on a science note, you would not be able to track meteors (sic) that are 4 days out with the Hubble Space Scope. It would be like trying to track a Randy Johnson Fast ball with binoculars from 1st base. Just putting that out there.

  2. Wow, the fact that you like this movie amazes me. No offense, but I remember seeing this and thinking it was awful. The plot didn't make sense, the characters were superficial, and I just had no sympathy whenever someone I was suppose to be caring about died.