Thursday, 24 March 2011

World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles: Movie Review

World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles: Movie Review

Battle Los Angeles
Rating: 6/10
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Marines, Aliens, Explosions, Space ships
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Do you like alien invasion films?
Do you like plenty of shooting?
Do you like a minimal plot which sees a leader looking for redemption after the loss of troops in former combat?
Do you like stuff blowing up?
If you've answered yes, then move along, this review won't matter to you. Because right after you've read the title, you'll be in the queue for the ticket. And waiting for the inevitable video game release.
For the rest of you - strap in.
World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles (to give it its title outside of the USA) centres on a platoon of marines recently returned from combat, who've suffered the loss of their own thanks to the decisions of Aaron Eckhart's staff sergeant.
24 hours later this crew of gung-ho grunts (including one who's about to marry, one who's got post-traumatic stress, one who's a marine on the brink of retirement - just the regular collection of cliches) is heading into battle when a series of meteors land at strategic points around the world.
Pretty soon, it's clear this is an invasion force - and the marines are one of the last lines of defence in the war against this unnamed extra terrestrial army.
World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles does what it says on the tin.
As I've already said, it's got the tenets of a B movie, a war film and an FX spectacular thrown in - as well as the predictable Iraq allegory (the aliens are after our resources; they use water for fuel ... subtle it may not be).
But visually, its style is impressive - it looks like a war film with its handheld cameras, verite style following the marines as they try to save civilians from behind enemy lines (which resemble wartorn streets of Iraq). It really gets you into the heart, paranoia and uncomfortable nature of battle.
The opening works well - the suspense as the aliens arrive and simply start shooting does enough to set the scene (even with the obligatory last night out of the marines before being shipped out).
But towards the end, all semblance of plot goes out the window - previously unassailable aliens are able to be run down with humvees; gung-ho statements like "I'm ready for payback" really destroy what atmosphere there was. It's the kind of film that should be shown to Marines to hype them up before combat - the whole thing is akin to a major recruitment drive film or a PlayStation game (get the marines to the city, steal the bus, shoot the aliens, save the civilians etc).
The other major problem is that outside of Aaron Eckhart and Michelle Rodriguez, I couldn't really tell you who's who - the other actors all blend into a camouflage goo and don't stand out in the slightest.

Having said that, World Invasion: Battle Los Angeles is a reasonable adrenalin-filled spectacle for two hours, full of bullets, bangs and boys (and slightly dodgy alien FX) - ultimately, it's not adding anything new to the genre but is distracting enough.

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