‘Battle: Los Angeles’ review: Few surprises but a satisfying mission

March 12, 2011 | 9:31 a.m.

Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey took a tour of duty with “Battle: Los Angeles,” here’s an excerpt of her review…

battle los angeles Battle: Los Angeles review: Few surprises but a satisfying mission

"Battle: Los Angeles" (Columbia Pictures)

Before we begin, a moment of silence please for all the brick and mortar that made the ultimate sacrifice for “Battle: Los Angeles.” Sob. Let me just grab a tissue. Sorry. Let us not forget the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air either. The pyrotechnics are patriotic, sizable, and clearly the star of “Battle: Los Angeles,” so don’t let the tight shots of Aaron Eckhart’s chiseled jaw and cleft chin fool you.

The movie, directed by Jonathan Liebesman, is very much in the tradition of those old World War II films you find on late-night cable with rickety fighter planes engaged in long skirmishes that you can’t follow all that well except you know a few good men are trying to save the day. But with less story and instead of Germans or Japanese for hostiles, we get hordes of vengeful aliens, their monstrous UFOs choking the L.A. skies like rush hour on the 405.

Chris Bertolini’s script is totally predictable from the first few moments when Eckhart’s Marine staff sergeant signs his discharge papers only to have them put on hold. It’s not really about acting either, though Eckhart does his best to play the hero, lead his little band of brothers (and a sister), save some civilians, including kids in case the stakes weren’t high enough, while delivering stagy lines in a teeth-clenching growl: “Retreat? Hell. We just got here.”

Nope, “Battle: Los Angeles” is all about the boom-boom as Santa Monica by way of Baton Rouge, La., where the movie was actually shot, is reduced to rubble. But, as the title suggests, L.A. is on the firing line, so the city’s skyline is blown to bits. Burning, broken, blackened bits. So if that’s what you’re in the mood for, that is what the film delivers, endlessly, but in that cheesy-campy way that can make a bad movie good fun…


— Betsy Sharkey


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14 Responses to ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ review: Few surprises but a satisfying mission

  1. Chris Skaja says:

    The good news: 90% action.
    The bad news: 90% action, filmed with hand held "shakey cams". Nearly gave me a headache 20 minutes into the movie.
    The remaining 10% helped relieve my pain, but half of it should have remained on the cutting room floor. Silly, not needed extended death scene of one of the victims.
    I waited months for this movie to finally appear, and have to say the only thing saving it is at least it was an attempted sci-fi flick (my favorite), the theater popcorn was good, and I used a free admission pass.
    Wait for a reduced price blu-ray.

    • Ciara says:

      Thats insane it was way better then that Skyline crap but not nearly as good as Independence Day

      • Mac says:

        Independence day was good but this was way better….think bout how realistic this was compared 2 Independence day….this was the best alien invasion movie ever created…in my opinion Independence Day had some very corny moments….how did the tech guy figure out the code, how did they give the mothership a virus with "Advanced" Technology that you figure could destroy a virus…and to be honest Bill pullmans Independence day speech was very corny….of course everybody has their opinion but Indpendence day was a good movie

  2. Wimpy in Minneapolis says:

    I went with my son and his girlfriend. I thought it was riveting and an excellent movie. I was only bored for the first 10 minutes and then it was all action. I will be recommending it to all of my co-workers that is for sure. Action-packed and not really predictable in my opinion…

  3. Tom says:

    Movie was good, although in the end I felt like something was lacking. You might think they could spawn severl episodes off this one movie. With the main theme being Battle LA, the fact the movie shows just one small group and their encounters on their mission, kept me thinking during the movie, "but whats going on over there, and over there?" . All in all, it was close to what I expected, and I am glad I was able to contribute to my local theatre here in San Clemente, Ca.

  4. Julie says:

    Woerst movie EVER!

  5. Art says:

    Let set things straight here and now ,This was a stunning movie about what could happen.Some of the acting was abit on the tyipical military jargon but the special affects just seemed the right thing for this movie.The action was intence almost from the beginning and didnt stop until the end all in all this was a great movie and when it come out on BLURAY its going to be in my collection and by the way lets hope we have militay personel to take on a role like that if it asctually happens ,Semper-fi

  6. Duane says:

    I'm going to see the movie. The hell with you and damn your op!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. csaconn says:

    There are hints of better times ahead in this movie! Seems like gas prices are below $3 in CA this summer and it's good to see trading on Wall Street still taking place when we are under alien attack! After much anticipation, I give it a C-. At least we didn't get to see the Hollywood sign being blow up!

  8. Craig D says:

    First of all I have recommended this to a load of folk. It was only the second time since I got back to the USA decades ago that I was emotionally back in Viet Nam. When the platoon initially comes under fire the confusion and chaos brought the sensation on strongly and from then until the end it was pretty real for me.

  9. J.S. H says:

    This movie was good. The end was lacking somewhat but the first 45 minutes, up through the first firefight were really good – tense and action packed. You didn't really see the aliens and that gave the movie some tension that you don't really get in movies like this.

  10. Altranite says:

    The camera wasn't as bad as I though it would be. Silly critics, they don't even know what's going on. This movie is legitamately awesome. I would easily give it 4.5… no 5 stars out of 5. Its definately my favourite movie.
    Oh, and also the ending was great. "Let's take back Los Angeles"

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