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DVD Review: Battle: Los Angeles

June 14, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles – A Sony Pictures’ Release

http://www.sonypictures.com/homevideo/battlela/

DVD Release Date: June 14th, 2011

Rated 14A for violence, language may offend

Running time: 116 minutes

Jonathan Liebesman (dir.)

Christopher Bertolini (writer)

Brian Tyler (music)

Aaron Eckhart as Sgt. Michael Nantz

Ramon Rodriguez as 2nd Lt. William Martinez

Will Rothhaar as Cpl. Lee Imlay

Michelle Rodriguez as TSgt. Elena Santos

Our reviews below:

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Battle: Los Angeles DVD Review By John C.

* (out of 4)

Director Jonathan Liebesman’s Battle: Los Angeles is so bombastic and pointless that I’m not even sure I can call it a movie.  It’s more a series of shaky and chaotic images of violence, that rarely connect through plot or emotion.  We watch as a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) leads his troop into battle, to save Los Angeles from an oncoming colonization of alien invaders from an unknown planet.  I wish I could tell you more of the story, but alas there isn’t any.  Little information is given on the creatures themselves, but as an added bonus for fanboys, Michelle Rodriguez plays a dumbed down version of her character from the far superior Avatar.

With no discernible characters or plot, the tone of Battle: Los Angeles is so relentless and pointless, that it almost always feels like we are merely watching an uninventive video game play itself.  The action and violence are nonstop, and the sound of constant machine gun fire becomes so monotonous that it would be surprisingly easy to sleep through this invasion.  Those wanting constant chaos will get what they’re looking for, but those hoping for an actual movie will be sorrowly disappointed.

The Blu-ray includes numerous ‘behind the scenes’ featurettes.

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Battle: Los Angeles DVD Review by Erin V.  

* (out of 4)

Look up in the sky!  Are those meteors?  No!  They’re spaceships!  Yeah, that’s right, and (spoiler alert), the aliens inside want to steal our water and destroy some coastal cities in the process.  Battle: L.A. follows a staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his team of marines who have to defend L.A. against the alien invasion.

This film is pretty bad.  It’s not any one thing, but rather a culmination of things.  In terms of script, the dialogue is passable, but the pacing is wrong and severely lacking in character development.  District 9 had more character development of both the humans and  alien ‘Prawns’ in five minutes, than this film would ever have even if it was five hours long.  The emotional connection here was nil – no, putting civilians (including kids) in danger doesn’t count – I was still bored.

The acting too, is fine (relative term), but delivering nothing more than what was most likely on the page, so kind of flat.  The camera work becomes annoying as shaky-cam is overused, and the locations become monotonous (as do the shoot-em-up scenes).  The aliens are shown too much so that we become complacent, and 20 minutes to the end of the film, the characters magically have the realization of how to destroy them.  Oh, and as I predicted before even watching the film, the music is your typical overscored actiony stuff trying to play up a film that really isn’t working.

In short, with as much character development as the average video game and a plot to match, this film becomes nothing more than a bombastic assault on the eyes and ears.  But alas, it’s not like playing a video game as we have no control over the characters, nor the ability to play at our own pace.  So much relentless action and no involvement, and I was bored.  Rent this one if you enjoy watching, essentially, what looks like a video game demo.  Because honestly it feels like nothing more.

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Battle: Los Angeles DVD Review By Nicole

*1/2 (out of 4)

Battle: Los Angeles is a pointless apocalyptic film in which alien invaders demolish cities in order to obtain Earth’s water to fuel their ships.  Which just begs the question of how the ships got to Earth in the first place.  The entire film consists of non-stop shooting between the US army and the aliens.  While the viewer is given names and brief back stories for each US soldier, none of them are developed as characters.  The aliens have no back story either, which makes this movie as boring as watching someone else play a video game.

Brining children into the mess doesn’t even make the movie any more emotionally connecting.  The only mild sympathy I had for any of the (non) characters was the alien brutally stabbed to death by humans.  This should have brought forth moral questions, but in this blatantly pro-military and pro-war shootout film, any ethical or emotional aspects have been ignored.  Battle: Los Angeles, while relatively bloodless, is nothing but a stupid video game billed as a movie.

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Battle: Los Angeles DVD Review By Maureen

* (out of 4)

How can Battle: Los Angeles, a high energy sci-fi action film about alien invaders attacking Earth feel so tedious and flat?  Maybe it’s the lack of any real character development.  Subtitles naming different soldiers at the beginning doesn’t really count as getting to know who they are.  If audiences are going to care about what happens to the soldiers they have to feel invested in them.  The only soldier we get any slight glimpse of is staff sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) and even then it’s only a glimpse.  The soldiers are interchangeable and when aliens are shooting at them and blowing things up for two solid hours we really don’t care.

The special effects team and the stunt guys must have had a whole lot of fun making Battle: Los Angeles.  It’s too bad somebody didn’t create a believable or interesting story to go with all of the explosions.  Check this out only if stunts and special effects are all you’re looking for.

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Battle: Los Angeles DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

Battle: Los Angeles plays out like a two-hour combat video game (minus user participation) with brief scenes of cliché dialogue among characters that are little more than avatars despite a serviceable cast led by Aaron Eckhart.  He is a retiring Marine staff sergeant whose platoon is up against an alien invasion of heavily armed androids landing on coastal cities to steal the water.

If you like this sort of thing, within the preposterous plot there is plenty of action that is reasonably well handled without being overwhelming (as in Transformers).

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Consensus: With little time for plot or character development, Battle: Los Angeles is an action film so relentless and pointless, that the audience is often left feeling as if they are watching someone else play a violent video game.  *1/4 (Out of 4)

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