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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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Good 3 Stars
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Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Michelle Rodriguez
Aaron Eckhart
Bridget Moynahan
Lucas Till
Michael Pena
Ne-Yo.
Directors
Jonathan Liebesman.
Screenwriters
Christopher Bertolini.
Running Time
116 minutes

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Battle: Los Angeles
Aliens vs. Familiar


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Plot
Aliens attack Earth’s coastal cities with overwhelming military force. US Marine Staff Sergeant Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), recalled to duty, is assigned to a platoon who are ordered to perform a rescue mission in Santa Monica before the Air Force bombs the city to prevent it falling into enemy hands.


Review
Battle: Los Angeles
Browse more images »
There’s one tiny, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment in Battle Los Angeles which hints at an interesting film director Jonathan Liebesman – the man who brought you the Texas Chainsaw prequel and that Tooth Fairy movie Darkness Falls – chose not to make.

Early on, a couple of grunts wonder aloud in thudding dialogue whether the aliens they’re fighting are soldiers following orders just like them. Later, after much computer-game style ET-blasting carnage, there's a busy skirmish between Our Side (the US Marines, hoo-rah!) and Them (Evil Alien Bastards) in which it’s easy to miss a little vignette of two aliens pulling a wounded comrade out of the line of fire. So they’re not a hive mind or zombies or robots or insects and might have more complicated characters than we’re allowed to see.

Liebesman isn’t interested in competing with District 9 or Monsters, though, just in trashing Los Angeles (a city of no strategic value whatsoever) and shooting aliens. The menace comes from spindle-legged, semi-armoured, mushroom-headed, welded-on-weapons monsters the like of which we’ve seen a dozen times before, and the heroics are delivered by the sort of soldiers who were cliché as John Wayne hit The Sands of Iwo Jima let alone when Clint Eastwood stormed Heartbreak Ridge.

Here are the types we get: a veteran sarge on the point of retirement with an ill-earned rep for getting his men killed, a wet-behind-the-ears lieutenant who was top of his class but has never been in combat, the hot chick who’s just as tough as any man (Michelle Rodriguez owns the patent on this), the guy with glasses who’s getting married soon, the combat-stressed infantryman eager to be declared battle-ready again, the cool guy with a moustache, etc. Civilians and kids show up to be rescued and related to, but they’re only the sort of baggage which comes with video game war challenges. The burning wreckage of Santa Monica isn’t played for the sacrilegious frisson of America invaded found in Red Dawn or even 1941. The hand-held camera, in-the-thick-of-the-action confusion and clouds of smoke tricks of Saving Private Ryan now feel so familiar that what was once innovative is now rote.


Verdict
Pretty much cardboard, down to the heroic patriotic speeches, and less distinctive even than last year’s scarcely stellar Skyline, which trashed the same city. Things blow up good and Eckhart is a classier actor than his role warrants, but we’ve all been here before.


Reviewed by Kim Newman


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Battle: Los Angeles
Empire Star Rating

Battle: Los Angeles

Even with all of the action and flashy VFX, Battle: Los Angeles runs on thoughtless ideas. With a dull script, cliche characters, and overuse of shaky-cam, this is a loud, cheesy, headache inducing bore. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 17:05, 26 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

Watching this right now, so far it's a lot of fun. That's it really, I've got nothing more to say ... More

Posted by Hood_Man at 22:30, 04 November 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

Another trailer that make you look forward to a film, than get disappointed, the same with Skyline. It had so much potiental, but it left me caring little about the charactors or what happened to them. ... More

Posted by white mage at 15:43, 24 October 2011 | Report This Post


2 stars is a bit harsh. Unoriginal and cliched it might be but it does what it sets out to do - the hint is in the title. Good fun and entertaining, even the blatant rip offs (can't we have a laugh at these rather than being outraged?) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blanc1g at 05:04, 22 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

I am, I'm more chilled than a carbonited Han Solo. ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 13:33, 19 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

Relax,i love alien invasion films too! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 13:29, 19 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

Yes, so what. e all like films that don't always agree with the tastes of others. I'm into my alien invasion films. I can't wait for "leshipext year. Even though it most likely will be critically and publically panned. ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 12:22, 19 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

You really like this film Emyr! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 09:49, 19 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

L: Rgirvan44 Just thought it was interesting that he went straight to the games rather than the films.  think that's because they're more recent than the sources I mentioned, kinda the zeitgeist at the moment. L: serious_syd The concept of the movie is that the only way to 'not lose' LA is to completely destroy it by fighting. Flawed. No it wasn't flawed. The strategy was to contain or 'box them in' as the Americans would say. Keep them pinned down in a relatively co... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 01:20, 19 October 2011 | Report This Post


5 mins of action recycled for a movie

The concept of the movie is that the only way to 'not lose' LA is to completely destroy it by fighting. Flawed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by serious_syd at 23:01, 01 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle LA

The movie was just awesome i loved it very much,specially the special affects in the movie. Its in the collection my vies. ... More

Posted by patriciaa at 11:53, 19 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

It's more for a specific shoot em up style though?As said before,the ultimate influence is by film for games. As a keen gamer myself,like films,there is a very varied level of quality with this type of action sequence footage in games too. The term used earlier-i wont say it again! is just a lazy cliche. Yes directors do look at games for style etc,but the film is NOT a game! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 20:30, 18 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

Just thought it was interesting that he went straight to the games rather than the films.  ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 01:12, 18 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

Thing is both "ng Private Ryanincluding " Brothershat matter) and "k Hawk Downeatly informed the visual elements of the " of Dutyeries. In fact, "1&2orrows quite a bit from "/b]t "/b]ly inspired the "i]hoot series. It's not uncommon for such games to use military advisors just so the uniforms, tactics, military jargon, weaponry and equipment is authentic and accurate. Besides, the helicopter motif, 'taking a wrong turn', fighting off a horde whilst being cut-off is all rather similar to Rid... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 00:48, 18 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

Just for your interest www.cinemablend.com/new/Battle-Los-Angeles-Cast-Intervi ews-Eckhart-And-Rodriguez-On-Set-22871.html Jonathan Liebesman:find myself getting a lot of inspiration just watching gameplay and Duty not first-person shooter anymore as much. What you see is the camera in different perspectives. There's a ton of production value in these games. There's some great directors that have done some good recent game commercials, whether it's my boy Neill Blomkamp, or Rup... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 00:17, 18 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

L: thetruth Video game that phrase! ame here, an annoying Americanism. Should be termed r gameamusing, people are making the computer game comparison and then readily use the " of Dutymore like carpal tunnel syndrome)  series as an example. Even though that series, particularly the 'Modern Warfare' series is heavily influenced by such films as "k Hawk DownSo really, it's retrospective ripping-off. I think the "akes a lot from "/b]ot from any game. Afterall, that film set a very go... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 23:55, 17 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Battle Los Angeles: Review

Video game that phrase! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 10:21, 10 August 2011 | Report This Post


Battle Los Angeles: Review

Battle: Los Angeles is a very good film. The movie reminds me a bit of a video game (e.g. Call of Duty) the way some scenes are played out. The story is very enjoyable to learn and the action scenes in the film are enjoyable to watch. My only problem with this film is the film could have gone into more detail about the invasion then just always just on the army. One thing is for sure, Battle: Los Angeles is way better then Skyline. I would recommend to go see this film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Edward9630 at 02:05, 08 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: B:LA you

L: thetruth I was thinking a la Signs,lol! know, I enjoy a good wordplay. ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 18:47, 06 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: B:LA you

I was thinking a la Signs,lol! ... More

Posted by thetruth at 08:32, 06 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: B:LA you

L: Dead Mike My original point stands. o it doesn't, as you made a crass generalisation. L: thetruth Nay problem! I assume the tinfoil goes on your head?? It's actually a tin-foil blanket. You can wrap it around your head if you want. Although you'll have to take care of your feet too...for thermal retention! ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 02:21, 06 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: B:LA you

Nay problem! I assume the tinfoil goes on your head?? ... More

Posted by thetruth at 09:38, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: B:LA you

L: Emyr Thy King L: CORLEONE The script was crap, wasn't it? Cringe inducing in places. b]ht the script was finet did enough to service what was on screen, nothing more. If I were to level any sort of complaint against it, I'd say it was mostly unexceptional. Creatively, I thought the film had some very clever ideas about presenting an alien invasion story without rehashing old tropes. Although if you've gone from making pasta/bolognese sauces to writing film scripts. One would thin... More

Posted by Dead Mike at 09:01, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


B:LA you

L: CORLEONE The script was crap, wasn't it? Cringe inducing in places. thought the script was fine, it did enough to service what was on screen, nothing more. If I were to level any sort of complaint against it, I'd say it was mostly unexceptional. Creatively, I thought the film had some very clever ideas about presenting an alien invasion story without rehashing old tropes. Although if you've gone from making pasta/bolognese sauces to writing film scripts. One would think it would be ... More

Posted by Emyr Thy King at 01:46, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


RE: BATTLE LA: DECENT ACTION PACKED EXPLOSION FILLED NONSENSE.

L: Emyr Thy King L: thetruth Emmmm,not me old boy! Never said that about you or anyone else for that matter! should clarify. I responded to your "Jeepers,who's in bad form?" comment. As I thought you may have been referring to the tone of my post. As if I was in a bad mood. I wasn't having a go at you, just explaining why I critcised pstairs) MikeEd your pyjama parties with great affection. Although please don't describe your party guests as little shits, it's unbecoming. got... More

Posted by thetruth at 01:03, 05 August 2011 | Report This Post


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