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Movie Review: "Battle: Los Angeles"

Posted by Carlo Jose San Juan, MD on Saturday, March 19, 2011 Under: Review
    It's been a while since I wrote a movie review.  But there's something intangible about Battle: Los Angeles (it's called World Invasion: Battle of Los Angeles in my country) that compelled me to write one for this movie.
    Right off the bat, I will tell you this: if you saw any trailer, poster, or TV spot for this movie and thought, "this is gonna suck so bad I gotta see it," I was right there with you.  The story didn't disappoint this assumption but hey, everything else was a nice surprise.
    [Spoilers follow!]
    The premise is that meteors crashed apparently selectively in seas along major coastal cities.  These turn out to be invading aliens.  Our armed forces fight back blindly, not knowing what we're up against.
        The little unit of Marines we follow throughout the rest of the film is filled to the brim with cliche characters.  Still, they play their shallow parts as well as they could and it is believable.  The most seasoned among them is their second-in-command, Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), who is a war-damaged veteran who's made some bad calls in the past and was a day or so away from retiring.
    The second most memorable character would be Michelle Rodriguez's gutsy Air Force tough girl.  She's managed to play these roles perfectly in the past and it show here.
    The major strength of the film is that it is a grunt's eye view of the whole situation.  They start thinking it is a training exercise, then believe it is a mission to evacuate civilians from the shores, then suddenly... aliens?!  It can't be!
    From then on we, as the audience, know only as far as these soldiers can see.  But with sounds of battle ringing all over the place, even as they carefully walk through quiet but smokey suburban streets, you get the distinct sensation that there's a lot more happening than we can see.  That we are only witnessing a small part of a far larger (global!) tale. 
    Thus, when they go through each encounter with the enemy,  they realize that the situation is far more than their tiny bullets can pierce.  But still, they have a mission, and they hold on to that purpose to maintain their sanity and fight hard to carry it out.
    What I didn't like? The aliens.  I understand, though.  They used technology that would work on our planet.  They need rocket-boosted airships.  Projectiles are fired from "guns".  They need lights to see in the dark.  You get the feeling that they aren't that far ahead of us even though they mastered space travel.
    Once I saw the first alien, though, I was like, "whaaaat?!"
    They seemed like stick-figured men with saucer helmets.  They walk on two legs!  Their gun batteries walk on legs too, and they trip!  Even if you take our planet's physics into account, I mean, come on!  At least use wheels!
    Nevertheless, I was sucked into the predicament of this small group of soldiers as they do their tiny part of a much larger thing.  That made me enjoy the film to the last reel, cliches, preposterousness, and all.

In : Review 

Tags: battle los angeles  movie  review 
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About the Author

Carlo Jose Caz is a practicing licensed physician, professional voice actor/talent, writer, and cartoonist. He has been working on the Callous comic strip since 1996, winning several of The LaSallian's Silver Quill awards for his work. He has written several published short stories. He currently lives in the Philippines with his wife and two children.


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