Film Review: Battle: Los Angeles

Aliens – when will they ever learn. Don’t go and place your central communications hub on Earth. In fact, just don’t have a central communications hub at all. It’s your downfall, it has in all movies and so is the case here in Battle: Los Angeles, an almost documentary style film on a war against aliens that’s full of a lot of action and not a lot else. It’s the perfect popcorn flick.

The Premise

Aliens are the order of the day as they come full force to take our water supply and eliminate us in the process.

The Disasters Faced

Guns, bombs, buses, knowing if you’re around Michelle Rodriguez that you’re probably next in the firing line to die or she is and one huge ass mothership!

The Execution

Taken from the recent fandom of going for realism and shaky camerawork, Battle: Los Angeles throws you right in the heat of the action. After we’re introduced to several characters who all seem friendly and human but have some conflicts between them, we’re thrown right into the action and it doesn’t stop until the credits role. Although its an end of the world film, its a war movie first and a disaster movie second. The generally cheesy but not completely overbaked commandery is rousing, the script is passable and the films pacing is well done. The camerawork sits nicely between shaky action and fixed position filmic shots and it doesn’t induce sickness that some people criticised Cloverfield over. Everything is dusty and gritty and although blood is kept to a minimum, the sweat and reactions on-screen are highly detailed and visible. If I were to pick holes, its at times hard to work out whose who as we start to lose characters thick and fast and suddenly someone who I thought had died was back on the screen again. Some of the characters blur a little into one but on second viewing I could distinguish characters easier. I also enjoyed that whole movie took place over a very short period of Earth time as it kept everything tight and compact and the film focused on giving hi-octane thrills and spills. Look elsewhere for character development.

The Effects

The aliens themselves are somewhat mute in their appearance and actions and strangely have muted presence in the film. It’s their ships and infantary that look spectacular, as does the general colour palette and decimation of sets. The bus set piece and police station sections are particularly well done but the whole film oozes effects from every nook and cranny. It really helps keep the pulse going and I can imagine it being a fantastic cinema experience.

Why It’s Worth Watching

For pure adrenaline pumping action, this has all your bases covered. It’s also a shock to see Michelle Rodriguez actually survive a film. I had her a sure pegged late in the day death. It’s also full of likeable characters. Usually you have some awful controlling characters but even the conflicting ones have their reasons and are painted grey instead of pure black. Obviously the effects are top-notch too. I just had a riot guessing who was next to drop and what situations they’d end up in next!

Best Death

There’s so many! I’m spoilt for choice but the sacrifice of Ramon Rodriguez complete with huge explosion of himself, a bus and a collection of aliens possibly wins the round!

Favourite Character

Perhaps tellingly, its hard to choose a favourite character as they all bleed into each other so I’m going to go for Bryce Cass who plays the boy Hector very well and despite having few lines, is an adorable kid who you desperately want to see safe at home.

Weirdest Moment

Having been on the ball to get all the way to the final battle, one of the squad decides to not bother to escape a spacecrafts missile and just stand there. It’s the typical “oh crap, I’m done for” pose, but with the amount of time it takes to sort itself out, there was plenty of time to jump and save himself. Aside from that, it’s another film where the world is incapable of winning until the good old American’s win the day and spread the word. Also, I’m sure one of the children they find disappears and reappears at random intervals.

Conclusion

Doing exactly what is says on the tin, this is all explosions, battles and warfare – almost computer game like. Some will love it, others will hate it’s on rails approach to rapid fire combat. I really soaked it up. Can’t tell you hardly any of the characters names, can’t tell you what really happened along the way but with nods to several movies before it (Aliens, Independence Day) it’s a real adrenaline junkies dream.

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  1. pesi - November 13, 2011

    pesi…

    [...]Film Review: Battle: Los Angeles « I Love Disaster Movies![...]…

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