I don’t know a lot, but I do know that alien movies and military flicks are usually nothing short of awesome, so how a movie that is heavy on both, with a meaty middle of explosions and bullets to boot, turns out so painstakingly dull, lifeless and downright boring has got me scratching my head and shaking my fist. Curse you Battle: Los Angeles! You were supposed to be my unofficial cinema start of summer, but now you’re nothing more than a soon-to-be Redbox release and odds on favorite for a 2011 Razzie. In a word: Boo!
Battle: Los Angeles starts promising and the first 20 minutes are pretty decent, however, with that said, in hindsight, it was nothing more than a quick introduction to all the clichéd military types I’d get to hang with for nearly two hours. Our main guy is Staff Sergeant Michael Nance (Aaron Eckhart) is back from Iraq and ready to retire. From all the gossip we hear throughout the military base, it seems Nance got his squad killed and was the only guy to make it out alive. When news begins to report that meteors – the kind that slow down (ahem, Independence Day) and end up being pissed off aliens intent on sucking the Earth’s natural resources – are going to impact the West coast, none of the soldiers, particularly 2nd Lieutenant William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), wants to work with Nance.
I’d like to tell you there’s more to the story, but there’s not. There are people populating this aliens-invade-earth flick, but there’s no depth to the characters and all they are is faces, most of whom are systematically picked off as the squad goes from point A to point Z trying to keep Los Angeles from falling into interstellar enemy hands. I had a brief burst of hope when the soldiers rescue some civilians (Michael Pena and Bridget Moynahan) early on during the battle, but these folks added nothing but more targets, screams and crying.
In the end, Battle: Los Angeles is a cool concept that is poorly executed on all fronts. It’s all explosions, unintelligible editing, gunfire and lame one-liners. There is no mystery and fear behind the aliens, who look like they came from the Planet of The Anorexic Predator Wannabes, and as a military film, I just didn’t give a rat’s bahookey if anyone made it out alive. In fact, considering Hollywood is spitting distance from Los Angeles, I kinda hoped the aliens would wipe out the city, it’s the least the filmmakers could do in repentance for such a cinematic travesty.