Another year, another unrelenting attack by hostile aliens on our planet. Who knew that Earth was such a valuable commodity? As we’ve learned to expect from the genre, Battle Los Angeles is a lot of action loosely woven together by a semi-comprehensible storyline, a bunch of Marines and a few painfully insipid scenes where The Deeper Meaning of Being Human are discussed.
The film starts out with the invasion and there’s no question, the aliens are smart, aggressive and alarmingly effective. They’ve simultaneously targeted major cities throughout the world and standard military tactics are completely ineffective. When we humans are convinced that we at least have air superiority the aliens roll out lightning-fast fighters. Not good!
On the side of humanity we have a group of US Marines busy training at Camp Pendelton, including the troubled Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) who is ready to resign his commission after his previous mission went terribly wrong. Los Angeles is attacked and they need every warm body on the front lines, so Nantz, Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), Lockett (Cory Hardrict), Stavrou (Gino Anthony Pesi), Harris (Ne-Yo) and Mottola (James Hiroyuki Liao) all grab grenades, clips for their rifles and jump in a chopper. Booyah!
There’s much to like in this gung-ho military alien invasion Western with its video game sensibilities, including a believable alien enemy and a somewhat ambiguous ending that wasn’t as ghastly stupid as the recent alien invasion film Skyline nor as goofy as the common cold plague that afflicted the Martian invaders in War of the Worlds. Still, it’s a movie without nuance, the characters are all incredibly predictable, and the dialog ranges from adequate to daft, with a scene or two that will have you convinced you’re seeing a high school movie club production, not a major studio motion picture.
Sound like your kind of escapist movie during a week characterized by tsunamis and a terrifying series of explosions in a damaged nuclear reactor? If so, then Battle Los Angeles is far from the worst movie in the cineplex right now, and if you can just enjoy it for what it is, you might be surprised how entertaining it is.