Battle: Los Angeles: movie review

High-energy sci-fi, 'Battle: Los Angeles' is full of intense action but little in the way of character development.

By , Film critic

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    A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles in Columbia Pictures' action thriller 'Battle: Los Angeles.'
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Mysterious objects – meteors? – are streaking toward Earth, and not just any old place on Earth. Major cities – London, Paris ... Los Angeles! The home of Hollywood and all things shallow. What better place to pulverize. But wait – it gets worse. These UFOs turn out to be alien invaders. And only the Marines can stop them.

Maybe the Marines should consider using “Battle: Los Angeles,” about which I cogitate, as a recruiting tool. Sure, it’s tacky, and the hovering alien space drones look like hairy chandeliers, but the Marines come out on top – sort of. It’s difficult to determine if these aliens, once they die, are really dead. It all gets pretty gloppy.

Aaron Eckhart plays Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, who is about to retire when the aliens pull him back in. With his hawklike profile and square jaw, the hyperstalwart Eckhart looks like a comic-book hero and acts like one, too. He’s so stalwart he creaks.

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Is “Battle: Los Angeles,” which was directed, rather enterprisingly, by Jonathan Liebesman, a metaphor for the U.S. immigration problem? It’s certainly a metaphor for something – maybe Hollywood’s hidden desire to see itself go up in flames? When the military brass warns that “we’re about to be colonized,” you wonder if they mean to shut down the borders. It’s probably not coincidental that the film is replete with Latino actors, or that one of the prime subplots involves a Hispanic father trapped behind enemy lines with his young son.

If “Battle: Los Angeles” has a message, it’s probably this: We need our human aliens to fight off space aliens. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for sustained and intense sequences of war violence and destruction, and for language.)

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