The plot is pretty straight forward. Mix a primary dose of modern American war movie set in Iraq or Afghanistan, such as The Hurt Locker, then mix in a little Independence Day, Aliens and the original 'V', with a heavy dash of District 9, and voila, Battle: Los Angeles.
The star, Aaron Eckhart (The Core, The Dark Knight, Love Happens), plays a Staff Sergeant who is on the verge of retiring after the usual 'traumatic experience from his last battle'. The rest of the cast are a practically non-existent mix of one-dimensional stereotypes. We have the soldier about to get married, the soldier who's wife is pregnant, the soldier who is green and inexperienced, the soldier who's brother was killed in battle with the man now commanding him, the inexperienced Lieutenant who must rise to the call before a tragic end... All stereotypes. The problem is, they're stereotypes that go no further. We get to know and care for none of them, apart for the possible exception of the Sergeant. They are canon fodder in the most literal sense. So much so, that setting up their characters was itself pointless time-wasting.
|Aaron Eckhart waiting for another shoot-out|
In fact, Battle: Los Angeles goes out of its way to avoid showing you the aliens in any real detail. It's as though they're afraid of showing them. The concept design for the creatures, their equipment and their vehicles appears to lack any theme or consistent aesthetic (not that we get to see much of them anyway). It's all very standard and unoriginal.
|The alien invaders|
|Flying into battle|
Once the action kicks in, the film is very much a couple of hours filled with the same thing again and again, with minor variations. Aliens approach, marines shoot back. The odds appear overwhelming, a few marines get killed, then they heroically triumph until the next engagement. Each of these scenes progress almost geometrically in scale until the climax.
|Michelle Rodriguez clearly rebelling against stereotype|
All work is the © copyright of W.D.Lee and/or the respective companies, individuals or organisations to which the work is related. No infringement is intentional. No reproduction or copying is permitted without express permission.