Battle: Los Angeles stars Aaron Eckhart as Marine Sergeant Micheal Nantz. He is one of those old war veterans who has seen many deaths on the battlefield and is constantly plagued with survivor’s guilt. Sgt. Nantz decides to take on one last assignment to help the new recruits adjust with their deployment and then he can quietly retire and do other things. Sgt. Nantz’s plans change however when Los Angeles is attacked by aliens who want the earth’s water supply. Most of the military and air force get taken out within a matter of hours and it’s up to Sgt. Nantz and his company of marines to hold the line and attempt to neutralize the alien threat.
Battle Los Angeles is a movie that tries to be an epic action picture but lacks the story and strong supporting characters to pull it off. This film is reminiscent of Independence Day (1996) but lacks characters and a story with any emotional depth. The entire supporting cast is defined by cliché armed forces archetypes: the trigger happy soldier, the new guy, the gruff veteran, the soldier with a grudge, and the soldier with a wife and kid on the way. Nothing throughout the movie ever endears me to these characters. The editing of the action sequences is choppy and do nott allow you to really follow the soldiers in combat. A lot of the camera work that is used are close ups and wide shots. In the close ups, characters are rarely ever displaying any emotional truth to the situation they are in. I’ve seen a few military movies in my time and in well made films there is always one well timed emotional moment that allows you to feel the weight of what these soldiers carry in battle. That is not present in this film. The director of this film is Jonathan Liebesman and the other films in his directing portfolio are all in the horror genre. While I understand this filmmakers desire to branch out and do something different he doesn’t tell the story in a unique way. If I were directing this film I would have shot their last stand as a POV piece so the audience could get a sense of how each individual soldier is dealing with their time on the battlefield. This is another opportunity for a film to show audiences what our men and women in the armed forces struggle with but instead we get a propaganda piece. The war rages on but it isn’t worth your time to watch it.