Battle Los Angeles (2011)
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Aaron Eckhart/SSgt. Michael Nantz
Ramon Rodriguez/2nd Lt. William Martinez
Michelle Rodriguez/TSgt. Elena Santos
In Lethal Weapon, on the day Sergeant Roger Murtaugh decided to retire from the police force; he got stuck with a new nuttie partner called Martin Riggs. But in Battle Los Angeles, when SSgt. Michael Nantz (Eckart) decides to retire from the military; he gets stuck with a full fledged, left field alien invasion. Murtaugh had it easy.
I was one of many who was completely BLOWN AWAY by the trailer for BATTLE LOS ANGELES. The mix of epic money shots of a war torn LA tagged to the downbeat ditty “The Sun goes Dim” by Johann Johannsson sent shivers down my crotch and out my pumped up fist. It definitely jacked BATTLE LOS ANGELES to the top of my must see list. So no shit, expectations were high as I marched into my screening of it. Did the picture live up to them? DAMN STRAIGHT!
BATTLE LOS ANGELES didn’t waste any time diving into the nitty-gritty cesspool of things. Prologue, quick intro of stock characters; shit hits the shan; it’s motherf*cking on! Non-stop action for nearly the entire running time! And hey, I wasn’t complaining! As conveyed by director Jonathan Liebesman; I got my “guns-kaboom” fix and then some but with a mucho “now” feel to it. In a bold move, this ride charged forward from the “Soldiers” point of view for the most part. By result, I felt right in there with them, in that chopper getting rocked, on the battle field ducking E.T. projectiles and in them decrepit houses with aliens up my ass. I was living the bedlam and it was Game Over man, Game Over! Moreover; that way to do it as to the happenings resulted in the alien foes retaining a groovy aura of mystery, as we more often than none clocked them from far way. That angle may not work for some, but it worked for me! Now, I am sure this one’s aesthetics will be compared to Black Hawk Down (one of my fav war movies btw) and the comparison is warranted. But its video games like Killzone and Call of Duty that popped in my noggin!
The potent set designs in their war torn and gritty vibe so echoed them games! Simultaneously, the mostly close-quarter battles and the hand held camera take on them with random zoom ins, gave the whole a first person shooter-ish energy, one that I got into 100%. And who better to lead us in the mouth of alien madness than Aaron Eckhart?! Although the supporting cast was credible (Ramon Rodriguez and cie did the best they could with the little they had); they were kind of glazed over as the main focus was King Eckhart. And yup, he was my anchor to the whole spiel as he made it happen with his stoic yet good hearted presence and his no BS attitude. When he mowed down the enemy, I cheered, when he riled up his troops I slapped the person sitting next to me with joy and when he gave his last act, “lets do this shit” speech I wanted to stand up and yell Eckhart! Eckhart! Eckhart! The whole cast obviously went through some ardent military training for their roles; but again, Eckhart stood out in that department.
There’s a bit near the end that sees him pull a “rifle to pistol swap” as he’s blowing alien scum away. That scene alone was worth me seeing the flick! What about the visual effects you may ask? Well, I dug that lots of the mayhem was done practically (them explosions gave me whiplash). As for the CGI, it was on the money when it came to the varied alien ships. It surely helped that the designs behind them were reasonably unique in terms of the subgenre. With that, the whole thing wouldn’t have gone down as smoothly without Brian Tyler’s grandiose and goose bump inducing score as back-up. WOW. Just when I thought the man couldn’t top himself, he goes and does just that. Needless to say I own the soundtrack and it’s booming out of my speakers as I type this. NOTE: Ideal background music to work-out or f*ck too, try it out! Add to all that love a furious pace that rarely let up, enough jaw dropping imagery and rousing hero moments to get ya going and an ending that had me begging for a sequel and you get the most fun I’ve had in the theaters this year! Yup I already want to see it again…and I will!
Any drawbacks? A couple. Granted the story could have benefited of more original characterization and further character development (Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan were basically wasted here); but at the same that didn’t hinder my experience much if at all. I saw this one as a situational driven opus, not a character driven one. We the audience and the poor souls in the movie were tossed into hell so quickly; that time to take a coffee break and explore the inner workings of folks psyche was slim. We got aliens up our asses yo! WAR! The narrative progression was a tad too predictable though, more surprises would have been appreciated and an alien motive that went beyond what we’ve already seen in “V” would have been tight as well. You know, for me, there are two ways you can look at movies; 1- The “on paper” way. 2- The way they made ya feel and the ride they took you on. I usually focus on the latter; it’s just how I roll. So although on paper Battle Los Angeles was low on substance, character depth and ridden with the usual war movie clichés; the powerful, emotionally charged and eye popping 2 hours of entertainment it gave me made up for that. Will everybody feel that way? Of course not. This is just one mook's opinion. Now yell it with me: Retreat hell! Retreat hell! Retreat hell!
We get blood, alien innards and bullets hits. Gore was not this one’s M.O. tension and action was.
T & A
I love military themed films, adore action, explosions and the sound of gun fire almost matches the sound of a girl cumming in terms of being one of my favs. Yes I am that guy and I f*cking loved this movie! BATTLE LOS ANGELES was War of the Worlds meets Call of Duty on testosterone enhancers! It won't win screenwriting awards but it sure came through in the relentless physical get-downs department and made for quite the edge of your seat thrill ride! The score by Brian Tyler was outstanding while the cast was able all around. Aaron Eckhart was so badass that they should’ve named the movie BATTLE ECKHART! You dig on visceral close-quarter action sequences, stand out FX, a pace that won't quit. rousing hero moments and suspense galore? DIG IN! Ooh-Rah!
Roger Ebert said in his BATTLE LOS ANGELES review: “If you attend this crap with friends who admire it, tactfully inform them they are idiots.” I hate it when critics think their opinion is the be all and end all of opinions. They’re right and everybody else that thinks otherwise is wrong and an idiot. Get over yourself man!
The film was inspired by a real life 1942 incident known as the Battle of Los Angeles. Unidentified air-crafts were seen in airspace above Los Angeles, the military got in there and at the end of it all, no evidence of them air crafts being there in the first place was ever found.
The bulk of the flick was shot in Louisiana, USA.