Movie Review – Battle: Los Angeles

Plot: When meteors hit around the world, an alien race breaks out and instantly attacks the Earth.  SSgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) leads a group of Marines to save civilians through the devastation, and is one of the last remaining troops to protect Los Angeles.

I hate this movie.  I hate this movie.  I hate this movie.  This is an abomination to film, and one of the worst things I’ve seen in the last five years.  The director (Jonathan Liebesman) should be ashamed of the ridiculous chaos and lack of coherence he throws onto the screen.  There are so many issues I have with Battle: Los Angeles, but the one thing I need to address right off the bat is the shaky cam.

I’ve never been so frustrated and angry with a filming technique.  This is like trying to watch a movie while riding a roller coaster.  I’m not kidding when I say this entire two hour mess is all shaky cam.  Even when there are two guys talking across a desk, the director goes off his rocker with it.  It’s a fricking disgrace.  It’s like he was so afraid of making another run of the mill alien invasion movie, he cops out and just says, “Ohhhhhhhh, if I use shaky cam, people will think this is artsy and different.”  Screw you.  I wanted to leave ten minutes in because I was literally sick to my stomach at how much the camera was shaking.  It was sickening to watch, and what makes it even worse is I bet Liebesman was reveling at how cool he thought he was being.  If I ever see shaky cam again, I’m leaving the theater.  It’s a disgusting technique, and it needs to stop.  ENOUGH!!!

What’s so bad about it is that it makes me hate the action scenes with a burning passion because I can’t decipher anything that’s going on!  It’s just a bunch of random shit flying around the screen.  Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was easier to follow than this.  I honestly couldn’t tell you what characters were dying or fighting.  I really had no idea what the hell was going on in most of the action sequences.  This leads me to the next flaw; the characters.

Holy shit, this was pathetic.  I couldn’t tell you the name of one character with the exception of the lead guy, Michael Nantz.  Part of this goes back to the shaky cam, in that I didn’t know when people died or not.  They don’t even attempt to give these people personalities.  And their quick attempt at the beginning to give them character distinctions was so piss poor and cliché, I wish they didn’t even do it.  Oh hey, you have the guy who is getting married and picking out a ring right before he goes into battle.  You have the loose cannon previously removed from duty but wants back in.  You have the Staff Sergeant who was forced to leave men to die in his previous mission and feels bad about it.  And the dialogue is just so blatant and half ass in introducing these themes.  Actually it’s worse than half ass; it’s more like one quarter ass.  But seriously, I had no idea who any of these people were throughout the entire movie.  So why do I give a shit?  And there is no passion in the acting.  It is the fricking definition of going through the motions.  People want to give Independence Day a hard time?  Well at least Independence Day had good actors who had distinctive personalities and energy to the roles.  You cared about them.  I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO SURVIVES AT THE END!

(Minor Spoiler this Paragraph) The predictability of these scenes was embarrassing.  There’s one moment where the soldiers are storming a building, and it’s really desolate and quiet.  Uh-oh, something is coming out of the building.  It’s just a dog.  Gee, I wonder if two seconds later the aliens are going to bust out and start shooting.  Yup.  Give me a break. 

They also have to force in heroic moments to the point of stupidity.  A lot of this happens towards the end.  Look, there’s being movie heroic, but then there’s just being dumb.  There’s one scene where Nantz attempts to do something alone, and there is just no way he’ll be able to survive the first five seconds of what he wants to accomplish.  Oh, but it’s just a lame plot device to get the rest of the troops to join him as the shitty score blasts in the background.  What unbelievably lazy writing.

The score is just terrible.  It’s the same damn score you hear in every action movie ever made.  But it doesn’t even try to do anything different.  It’s so over the top and dramatic that you might as well have a chorus of people singing “Cliché” in the background.

Was there anything I liked?  There’s one halfway decent action scene taking place on the freeway where the camera calms down for five minutes, and there’s one watchable emotional moment when one of the characters dies.  Aaron Eckhart is trying his best, but Marlon Brando in his prime couldn’t save this travesty.

Look, I didn’t have any expectations going into this movie.  I just thought it would be solid action and an entertaining two hour alien romp.  I wasn’t prepared to have my intelligence insulted by excruciatingly generic dialogue and two hours of vomit inducing camera movement.  I was very upset when this movie ended, and it ruined my entire day.  I guess the one good use Battle: Los Angeles could have is that if there’s a movie you are really hyped and excited for, but afraid it may not live up to your expectations, watch Battle: Los Angeles, and then any movie you see directly after will feel like the Empire Strikes Back, so I guess that’s something.

Rating: 2 out of 10 (A Complete and Utter Disaster)

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