March 18, 2011 by Vinnie Leduc
To the naysayers who criticized the movie, what’d you expect? Oscar season is long over, and March is usually full of iffy films that studios dump before the summer blockbuster season. We should be so lucky to be treated to a heavily marketed, loud in-your-face popcorn flick that deserved to be (and easily could’ve been) released in the summer. Also, the movie is called Battle: Los Angeles, not Drama: Los Angeles, so of course it’s gonna be focused on war. And here within lies the film’s overwhelming strength.
Battle: LA bombs you with so much endless action that not only do the few other cinematic elements seem compromised and mediocre, but there’s so little of it to criticize that they become afterthoughts vastly overshadowed by the chaos being shoved down your throat. Do people watch Man vs. Food for Adam Richman’s repetitive subpar comedy? No, they wanna see some food porn. So when it comes to its title, Battle: Los Angeles serves up nothing short of perfect wartime action.
I would be remiss to ignore those other elements that make up a movie though. The most common complaint you’ll probably hear from viewers is the cheesy dialogue. Sure, it’s weak, but not as cringeworthy as the trash that The Situation (or his writers) delivered at Donald Trump’s roast. Battle: LA will bash you over the head so frequently with typical military clichés like “LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND!” that you’ll half-expect Bill Pullman to show up and proclaim that “today we celebrate our INDEPENDENCE DAY!”
What few human plotlines exist mainly revolve around Aaron Eckhart’s veteran Staff Sergeant, who’s thrown back into the fray within less than a day of retiring. Michelle Rodriguez basically repeats every previous role she’s had, and Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena aren’t anything special in their civilian roles. Ne-Yo performs decently in his major film acting debut, as long as you don’t count the urban dance abortion known as Stomp The Yard.
But you’re not watching Battle: Los Angeles for anything besides the action, are you? Because otherwise you’ll leave the theater thoroughly disappointed and partially deaf. The gunfire and explosions continue relentlessly like a video game, and the fact that the actual video game tie-in is supposedly a POS only strengthens the movie itself. The film’s got the bullets and bombs down flawlessly with little regard for script and no need for 3D, but I wouldn’t have minded that additional dimension for a completely immersive ride. I’d also like to see an eventual unrated version on DVD because while I understand the profitability of a PG-13 rating, I would’ve watched Transformers if I really wanted to see bloodless mechanical aliens. Battle: Los Angeles gets 3 out of 5 stars.