Los Angeles Times critic Betsy Sharkey took a tour of duty with “Battle: Los Angeles,” here’s an excerpt of her review…
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…
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— Betsy Sharkey
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ON THE SET: Behind-the-scenes with “Battle: L.A.”