Battle: Cliche’; that is the easiest way to sum up the completely unoriginal and painfully lengthy film that is, “Battle:L.A.” No amount of “special” effects and action can make me enjoy what felt like a sadistic roller coaster of mundane acting, sub moronic dialogue and the directors attempt to give the audience motion sickness. Yet, it will make money and people who like seeing things blow up, will love it.
Mixing the plots of countless films like “Independence Day” and “War of the Worlds” and throwing in themes from others like “A Few Good Men,” the film follows Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart doing his best to make something out of this atrocious dialogue) as he joins a new squad of Marines led by a young brand spanking new Lieutenant. The squad consists of NY Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez, The guy they hired because Taye Diggs was too busy (wait, that was Ne-Yo?), Freddie Mercury, a young Eminem and a bunch of other bland actors who look like other people. Of course they also run into Michelle Rodriguez doing what she always does (add your own funny comment here). Each marine has their own story line that bears no weight on the actual story. One is about to get married, one has a pregnant wife, one is a virgin and another just lost his brother; original. Nantz of course was just about to leave the marines after he lost his whole squad on his last tour, but obviously an alien invasion forces you to buck up and fight.
Moving for a second to the actual aliens/invaders. As usual the audience is given a fleeting mention as to why they are invading (to harvest our water for power) which is fine to breeze through if you are not using it as a main thematic point. But just like a lot of films about alien invasions, we never get a solid look at them without the camera moving as if it was tied to chicken with its head cut off. From what you do get to see of them, they look idiotic and maybe that is why you can’t get a single still shot of one. Even though a film like “District 9″ employed a shaky documentary style camera flow, you still got great shots of the CGI aliens. “Battle: L.A.” offers a good amount of shots of the creatures that look like machines with elephantiasis with flying drones that connect to make up a shiny english muffin, but they were either so quick or so unimpressive that I just didn’t care.
The worst thing about this movie though it the paint by numbers dialogue that made me wish a metallic elephant man came into the theater and burn my retinas out with the apparent acid throwing weapons the aliens seemed to have at the beginning that just disappeared later. Most of the chatter was just typical and predictable rhetoric. But then there were gems like, “HQ says it is like nothing they have ever seen before.” Really? Make because it is literally something no one on earth has seen before. There is also the emotional speech about loving his soldiers that Nantz delivers that ends with, “…but none of that matters right now.”
While it is an alien invasion movie, “Battle: L.A.” is trying to send across a message that in times of need, everyone will have to make tough decisions. Sometimes you will make the right one and sometimes you will make the wrong one, but you have to make a decision. Frankly, if I were you, I would decide to not spend my money on this movie. Instead spend time playing Call of Duty, since that is all the movie really made me think about.