Space has been the focus of many a movie; from Star Wars to War of the Worlds and back again aliens have infiltrated our screens as well as the countless towns and planets they crop up on. Although Battle: Los Angeles doesn’t necessarily focus too much on its extra terrestrial elements it is nonetheless a sci-fi movie. Publicised as being a war film above all else what the advertisers seem to forget is that the threat is not of this Earth.
Attempting to give a refreshing take on the much-loved alien invasion storyline, Battle: LA very nearly succeeds. Were it not for its cardboard characters the film would provide a good couple of hours of engaging cinema. Unfortunately, with the presence of every stereotype known to man (including the retired veteran determined not to lose another soldier, the one getting married [see Will Smith in Independence Day for a better portrayal of this role] as well as the feisty girl), the film drowns in its own substance.
Aaron Eckhart, although likeable here, doesn’t exactly give his career best performance (for that, perhaps refer to >Rabbit Hole) whilst Michelle Rodriguez’s character is severely under utilised. Thanks to its attempts to defy the rules of its predecessors the film seems to happen upon all the same mistakes, with the film including too many storylines for you to get too attached to any. In killing off several key players Battle: LA plays with convention, helping save it from its over-populated script.
The aliens that threaten Earth security are much in the same vain as other recent sci-fi game-changers. The film echoes the hugely disappointing Skyline whilst aspiring to the unexpected brilliance of District 9.
You could do worse than watch this film but if you’re looking for a genre-defying sci-fi alien romp you may want to pick District 9, a film far more at ease with its content.
Best performance: Aaron Eckhart.