Some Substance, All Spectacle
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Writer: Christopher Bertolini
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo, Michael Peña
image from moviewallpaper.com
RANT: Ran into my friend, Justin, at Planet Fitness the other day. Little did I know that he creates YouTube videos ranting about the issues of the day - whether they be politics, popular culture, or personal observations. You can check his work out at www.justintimeradio.com. Lots of discussion about Charlie Sheen these days. Give him a try!
SYNOPSIS: As meteors splash down in the oceans along various coastal cities around the world, a retiring staff sergeant is called back into duty to lead a platoon of men against an alien invasion of Los Angeles.
Director Jonathan Liebesman and writer Christopher Bertolini bring the masses the latest in alien disaster movies. As with most American disaster flicks, New York and Los Angeles become the primary targets. In this case, New York was already overrun, so this film focuses on the destruction of Los Angeles by the onslaught of vicious militaristic alien forces.
For a paltry reported $70 million, the audience is treated to a variety of popcorn favorites. Aliens running a beachhead onto southern California beach sands, firing on fleeing civilians. Heavily armed marines running into the smoky fray, unloading on every extra-terrestrial in their rifle sights. Viewing downtown Los Angeles in fiery ruins, the epitome of a post-Volcano event.
Battle: Los Angeles starts at the onset of meteor strikes in oceans around the world, just miles from coastal metropolitan areas. Then they take a step back to introduce the major military players that we will rely on to try and save the day. Most of the characters are bare bones - the cocky New Jersey boy Cpl. Nick Stavrou (Gino Anthony Pesi), the soon-to-be-wed Cpl. Kevin Harris (Ne-Yo), the too-fresh out-of-the-academy 2nd Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), and the gritty combat veteran staff sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) who lives with the lost his entire team in a previous battle. I could continue with a dozen more caricatures, but all of that does not matter to me. Regardless of how shallow the character development may be, I still can empathize with any man (or woman) going onto the battle field to allow me my American freedoms - whether the threat is real or movie make-believe.
Battle: Los Angeles is a cross between Independence Day and Black Hawk Down. The entire film is taken to ground level with the soldiers in the field, with additional local and global footage to fill in a few story points. And with any classic alien invasion film where we are ill prepared and put back on our heels at the beginning, the resourceful eventually find a way to turn the tide.
Before writing this review, I heard a local station critic give his opinion and offering that the film was worth one wormy apple (out of four apples). He claimed going into the film that he wasn't expecting The King's Speech, and was prepared for a popcorn flick. I was also expecting a popcorn alien disaster popcorn flick, although our idea of the same thing seem to differ. The effects were decent to very good, the action was chaotic and close, the gunfire and aliens abundant. I wish I could have had a better look at the invaders, but I will settle for plenty of marine machismo - Oooorah!
Worth: Matinee and DVD
Butter Popcorn Meter