One part “Black Hawk Down,” one part “District 9,” one part pure war-movie cliché, “Battle: Las Angeles” is $100-million worth of special effects and bland melodramatics.
In other words, there’s a lot less to “Battle: Los Angeles” than meets the eye.
In a movie like this, when Earthlings are battling evil aliens from outer space, you want to see the aliens and not have to catch a glimpse of them in the background. But that’s all director Jonathan Liebesman seems to offer here.
The premise is simple enough: Aliens attack Earth from outer space – not just in Los Angeles but all over the planet (in search of water, it is later revealed). But the movie not only focuses solely on L.A. – it narrows that focus to one squad of Marines, led by Aaron Eckhart, who are sent behind enemy lines to rescue civilians who are trapped in Santa Monica (the aliens have landed in the ocean, then come ashore).
There are bits and pieces of dozens of other, better movies patched together to make this film – everything from “Independence Day” to the “Alien” films. Eckhart is sturdy enough as the lead but he’s really got nothing to do but give orders, shoot guns and give the occasional (and laughable) inspirational speech (which caused giggles from the audience I saw the film with).
If you want to turn off your brain for a couple of hours, you couldn’t choose a better film. Unfortunately, after watching the mindless “Battle: Los Angeles,” restarting that brain may prove challenging.
One and a Half Stars (Out of 5)