Witness the end of civilization unfold as hostile alien invaders attack the planet. As people everywhere watch the world’s great cities fall, Los Angeles becomes the last stand for mankind in a battle no one expected. Now it's up to a Marine staff sergeant (Aaron Eckhart) and his platoon to draw a line in the sand as they take on an enemy unlike any they’ve ever encountered in this epic sci-fi action film.
Battle: Los Angeles
is a war movie first, science fiction second. It's got it all: a burned-out retiring sergeant who gets drawn back in because, dammit, the Marines need him; the guy who's about to get married; the guy who's still a virgin; the guy suffering from shell shock and who just might crack; the newbie officer with a lot of book learning who you just know is going to freeze under pressure and have to be shepherded by that burned-out sergeant, who learned his lessons on the battlefield… and so much more. There's not a moment in this movie you haven't seen before--the only twist is that the enemy is alien, so whatever shred of concern you might have for raining heavy artillery on a fellow human being can be cheerfully cast aside. But clichés are clichés because they are efficient and effective, and despite the profound familiarity of Battle: Los Angeles
, there's no denying the movie rips along (though two-thirds of the way through you may have forgotten who was the virgin and who was the shell-shocked guy--but really, does it matter?). The look owes a debt to District 9
, a hand-held, vérité grittiness, with most of the CGI carefully given a dingy, dirty look so that it meshes with the urban landscape. Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight
) does an impressive job of spitting out ham-fisted dialogue like he really, really means it, while the rest of the cast is suitably generic. This is an unrepentant love letter to the military; many viewers, faced with the unsettling chaos and moral ambiguities of real wars, will find this mythologizing not only soothing, but even moving. --Bret Fetzer