Battle: L.A. - Review


Battle L.A. has been very hyped and kept secret by hollywood. Everyone knew just biy the sight of the first pictures that it would be a blackhawkdown-meets-independence-day-meets-district-9-like movie. I honstely was pretty hyped too. I thought it had big potential to be a contestant for best alien invasion movie. Also i was pretty convinced that it would easily be better than independence day. So now that the movie has been released, was all the hype worth it?



The plot:
A recently discharged Staff Sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) goes back into the line of duty in order to assist a 2nd Lieutenant and his platoon as they fight to reclaim the city of Los Angeles from alien invaders.

The plot is nothing new and almost every single alien invasion movie focusing on the military side of the battle is build the same way. That's not really a bad thing considering that theres still much potential in that simple plot which can be extended if the right director is in control. Unfortunately director Jonathan Liebesman was obviously the wrong dude to choose.
Liebesman does nothing new in this movie. Nothing new at all. Honestly he does it even worse. Independence day is not a tough movie to beat. But even director Liebesman isn't even able to beat this simple lighthearted popcorn entertainment flick.

Unfortunately, the build up of the alien invasion happens way too fast. There's no tension at all if you do show the alien attack like BAM! there you go. At least in Independence day there was enoug build up that kept you invested in the characters and the situation itself.
In Battle L.A. there's no tension at all.

But one of the biggest flaws of this movie is it's lack of imaginative new characters. All the characters. All of them are stereotypical and clicheed war movie characters everyone of us has seen at least once. From the seargeant with a dark past to the dude you know is dead meat right from the moment you see him. Also there are a couple of miscasting choices. Many of those "tough" soldiers don't match the personality they are suppoosed to represent. Except Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez (who is always cast as the same badass chick). And honestly...you casted Ne-Yo as a soldier???

The bland characters get all round up by painfully clicheed dialogue. Seriously for a big budget movie like this one, they couldn't get someone who at least was able to write good dialogue? The dialogue is so bad and unintentionally funny that part of the time you think you are watching a bad straight-to-sci-fi-channel original movie.

It's hard to decide whether or not the acting or the bad script is the problem. But i think the root of all evil is MAINLY the bad script.

But not only the dialogue but also some scenes themselves are so predictable, you can tell their outcome right away.
Battle L.A. obviously relies heavily on its actions scenes and the effects.
The action scenes are put together pretty ok but are ultimately hampered by this god awful and annoying shaky cam style. They are obviously trying to pull of the black hawk down style. But the shaky camera work is so unfocused and rushed (just like the movie's pace) that during the action scenes you really get problems figuring out what the hell happens: "Who's shooting who, wait fuck what just exploded there? GOD DAMIT FOCUS!!"
Ridley Scott managed to pull off chaotic war movie action scenes in that kind of way that you always knew what was going on--> Black Hawk Down.
It wouldn't be so bad if the action itself was cool and exciting enough. But mainly the action consists out of the soldiers just shooting aliens...That's it. They constantly cover behind wrecked cars and shoot at aliens. In every fucking scene. The action just doesn't vary enough.
I always got the feeling that the movie would have turned out out better as a video game than it does being a big budget movie.

The CG effects are obviously inspired by district 9. Only that district 9 was original and pulled of better effects than Battle L.A.. I found the aliens to look very unimaginative, underwhelming and disappointing. I have no problems with the aliens somehow being some kind of cyborgs, but they really look boring, if you compare them to aliens like the xenomorphs, the predator or even the shrimps from district 9.
Also the alien machines and ships look like flying junkyards who feel like they have just been lazyily put together cause the animators thought "you gives a fuck. they get blown up anyway".

All in all, it's very hard to say but, even Michael Bay is more talented in making entertaining popcorn action movies than Jonathan Liebesman. At Least Michael Bay know what he does best and sticks to that. Jonathan Liebesman failed at giving us a realistic view at an alien invasion, du to the lack of a good script and bland characters that you don't give a fuck about. The whole movie feels kind of scattered all around and unfocused. The movie might only entertain the absolute most hardcore action fans who just want to see explosions and soldiers running around. But except for the action scenes, there absolutely happens nothing of interest.
It's still an act of sheer genius how the studio managed to give us such a cool hyping trailer to such an ultimately lame movie.
It's truly big pre-summer dull effects cash cow for hollywood. Don't be surprised if you end up being extremly disappointed by "Battle L.A."


Final Verdict: 2 out of 10

 

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