Calling Battle: Los Angeles a bad film would be an understatement. Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the film is in the league of Roland Emmerich's Independence Day, which dealt with themes like alien invasions and the subsequent resistance from the US army. Only, this film isn't half as entertaining.
The film begins with Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) submitting his papers to quit the military. However, before he can pack his bags, he's called back to join the rest of the marines in Los Angeles in an emergency in which thousands of aliens have invaded the entire state.
The invasion takes everyone by surprise, and Nantz's team is sent to rescue some civilians a few miles away from the military base. In the process, they come face-to-face with the aliens, and the rest of the story is about how they save the civilians in their battle with the aliens.
At a runtime of nearly 116 minutes, Battle: Los Angeles is a migraine-inducing film with reels and reels of nothing but explosions and gun fire. There are hardly any dialogues or any real drama to let the audience into all the action. Instead, we are taken through the war-stricken streets of Los Angeles where neither the marines know what is going on nor does the audience understand what keeps happening on screen.
After a point, the film takes itself too seriously for comfort, and you realize that the entire hullabaloo about defeating the aliens is a lame exercise to blow up a cool $70 million.
Aaron Eckhart, who has films like The Dark Knight
and Thank You For Smoking to his credit, is perhaps the only actor in this flick who depicts some
emotion. He plays a key role as Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, who has a terrible past in which he saw his own friends dying in the battlefield. This sense of guilt of not having saved them drives him crazy; however he never talks about it with his colleagues.
However, none of the other actors make any sort of impact, and end up being fillers amidst all the mayhem.
The film scores some brownie points in terms of its art direction. There's authenticity in the depiction of a city at war, with almost everything either destroyed completely or engulfed in fire. The editing, however, is bad, and is so fast that it is difficult to make out what the aliens look like.
Christopher Bertolini, who wrote the script of the film, does a shoddy job - almost every character in the film ends up being a done-to-death cliché. And the only thing the director of the film Jonathan Liebesman succeeds in is putting a bullet through our brains with his noisy and ridiculous depiction of war.
The movie is like watching someone play 'Call Of Duty' (the game) on a giant screen, and unless you have a fetish for hardcore action films, stay away. In any case, we only hope this film doesn't have a sequel, although unfortunately, the chances of that look bright since the movie doesn't have a conventional ending.