“Battle: Los Angeles” – 2011. Dir. Jonathan Liebesman

With Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Michael Pena, Ne-Yo, and Michelle Rodriguez


A group of marines pretty much save the world against aliens that have come for our water. The platoon is lead by Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, who is a shadowy hardass that has demons of his own. The platoon hates him, then accepts and follows him. Nough said.

We meet the rest of the platoon during the opening of the movie, we’re taken from character to character and they are over saturated with development in hopes that when they either get killed, or are in near death situations – we can feel for them.

The opening intros are mainly just act as comic relief that made the middle aged square guy sitting across from me in the theater laugh. Yeah, that’s how bad it starts. And no, it doesn’t get any better. Even when we get to the action sequences, they become long and drawn out. You really don’t care about what’s going on, and you’re hoping that the platoon saves the world so the movie can be over, but no, they hit a snag.

I find it very interesting that Aaron Eckhart took on this film. I’m surprised, since he mainly sticks to indie movies, or is a heavy in a mainstream movie. But on the other hand, I do think it’s cool that he got a big budget vehicle of his own. Don’t expect a (theatrical) franchise.

Nothing about this film is an original thought, nor is there anything imaginative. You really don’t see the aliens up close, and when you do – you really don’t understand what you’re looking at. It’s some sort of machine that has an alien heart or something? Isn’t that a cyborg?

But, to give this film credit, it’s the embarking of a new action film cliché. Whenever we need a tough military badass, he’s going to be an Iraq war veteran. Kiss the baby Viet Nam. I mean it makes sense, now it’s so easy to create credibility – oh, he served three tours of duty in Iraq? HOO RAAA!

Michelle Rodriguez is back as her staple, the bad ass Special Forces chick. Looks like we’ve found our new action chicka. She’s perfect for it though, she’s sexy, but sexy in a kick your ass sort of way. I like her, and don’t really roll my eyes at her. She’s better then that Mexican chick in “Aliens”.

Michael Pena shows up in a sort of weird role. His character really adds nothing to the film, and could have been cut out (along with a lot of other characters and story arcs). But I guess you can’t really have an alien invasion action flick with a runtime of 90 minutes – we needed to fatten it up with a bunch of bullshit characters and sappy shit.

The biggest problem of the film is that it doesn’t have a direction. It does have a narrative, but during the fire fights – the editing is incredibly fast to simulate warfare. That’s all fine and dandy, but when the editing isn’t coherent to the narrative, you’re left with a shitty mess that is “Battle: Los Angeles”.

The one thing I won’t shit on is Aaron Eckhart because I like him and he’s the best part of this shit storm. He’s a very good actor; he’s like Thomas Jane, but a little bit better. He does the best he can with this, but it’s not worth seeing.

Rating: 2.5/10

Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

10 thoughts on ““Battle: Los Angeles” – 2011. Dir. Jonathan Liebesman”

  1. I halfway expected you to give this some absurdly positive rating, like 8.5 or 9/10, just because nobody else would. Kind of like “Drive Angry.”

  2. I didn’t dislike this quite as much as you but boy did it let me down. For all the greatness inherent to the concept, this movie said nothing about anything, failed to build characters (which is being generous, since to fail, Liebesman would have had to have tried to do so in the first place), and used shaky cam far, far too much and for no tangible reason. Massive disappointment.

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