Battle: Los Angeles
Once again I found myself sliding a BluRay into the PS3 with very low expectations for my night ahead. Battle: Los Angeles has a 34% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and nobody that I know has had anything good to say about it. But hey, I’m a sucker for a night of brain dead Hollywood action and alien CGI, so why not?
Battle: Los Angeles is pretty much the same as every other alien invasion film that has been produced in the last 10 years or so. Yes, the aliens are invading the entire world, but it’s more important that they’re invading America. But Battle does has it’s own point of originality in that it’s a squad focused combat film.
We get to follow Aaron Eckhart who plays Staff Sgt. Nantz, a US Marine whose just handed in his resignation, wanting to turn his back on his recent mistakes. But when all hell breaks loose, he finds himself thrown into a squad of marines, lead by a much younger, fresh from officer training, marine and with the brother of one of the men he left behind on his last tour. Awkward.
Of course, being Hollywood, you know it’s gonna work out fine.
The squad gets sent off on a recon and rescue mission, and it’s here that Battle really kicks into high gear. An intense street battle ensues and we see the marines on the back foot almost immediately, knowing that they’ve come up against a much stronger, better equipped enemy. They’re scrambling for their lives and their fresh squad leader is scrambling his nerves. It’s intense, gritty and best of all it feels real.
The film continues down it’s path, with an attrition rate that could almost make this a survival horror (if there was any horror components) but the squad meets up with a few stragglers from another unit and combine forces to push through with their mission.
Predictably things aren’t going well for the marines but eventually the few remaining get an evac helicopter and on route to humanities last stand, Nantz sees what he believes to be the solution to turning the war, and asks to be put down so he can go all John Rambo. Of course the squad decides that he’s proved himself and they follow him into the last, decisive battle and on to victory.
As a high octane action film, Battle nails the urban combat well and truly. What lets the film down however is the writer/directors insistence on trying to make it more than just an action film. cutting out the back story of Nantz, his need for redemption and the squad’s eventual acceptance and forgiveness are all nice and good, if this had been a historical drama. As an intense military action film, it only distracts from what we want to see: marines battling aliens. If you stripped Battle back to just the urban warfare, you’d have a slightly too short, but adrenaline inducing action film. Even at 90 minutes Battle would (IMHO) have been much better received, but clocking in at just under two hours, you find yourself doing something no-one should ever have to do whilst watching a DVD; looking at your watch, or worse still, looking at the back of the DVD cover to see just how much long the film has left to run.
Reviewed by: Jonathan