November 24, 2020

Cameras and Cutups

“Battle: Los Angeles” proves too fast and too familiar

If there is a plot to “Battle: Los Angeles,” it is news to me. In the realm of action films, this film seems so familiar that even the filmmakers seem to gloss over it. Not only do viewers spend a great time confused on who is who in this film but they also spend most of the run time confused onabout what really happens.

Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), a staff sergeant in the Marines, is going to retire soon. But before he can hang up his uniform for good, he finds himself wrapped up in a battle to save the Earth. Aliens attack, although viewers are never really quite sure why or where from. The most plausible explanation we’re given is that they want our water supply to fuel their ships.

But when Nantz and his crew get caught behind enemy lines, it’s up to them to save L.A. from complete domination.

While viewers are given a back story for some of the characters, all of it is quickly lost by the fact that there is too many to keep track of and not enough time to focus on each. The whole movie moves so fast viewers may find themselves lost almost the entire time.

Even worse, the story line is redundant. “Battle: Los Angeles,” is, basically, a mixture of “Independence Day” with “Saving Private Ryan.” The only difference being that this film has no likeable characters or understandable plot. No one in this movie is actually sympathetic, and it works wholly against the film itself.

The biggest problem is when there is action, the jerky and unfocused camera work doesn’t showcase the little amount of action in it. I never really got a full picture of anything going on, and it left me trying to follow action that isn’t understandable.

Very little is here in terms of acting as well. Eckhart, who we can remember fondly as Harvey Dent in “The Dark Knight,” seems to overplay almost every line in the entire movie. No one else in the cast is even close to believable, least is Michelle Rodriguez, whose stereotypical role is the lone female fighter among a group of males feels strikingly familiar.

Viewers may also find that they are left wondering about the aliens themselves. Little background is given, and viewers really don’t get a very good close-up of the actual aliens. It’s hard to give them a real chance as characters, especially when they almost never actually see them.

Furthermore, where explosions and fast-paced action could have ruled the day, it may pain viewers to know that even the action seems unreal. This is especially true when you add in the troves of motivational speeches done during it that, after the first three or four, really just begin to feel like someone who is faking being inspiring rather than actually doing it.

This movie fails even where it had many easy opportunities to succeed. It had both a premise and a cast that — while not awe inspiring — could have led them to at least a halfway decent action movie. Hokey acting and little story leaves viewers to call “Battle: Los Angeles” a colossal waste of time. “Battle: Los Angeles” shoots itself a 1.5 out of 5.


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