Battle: Los Angeles is a combat
movie. A lame combat movie. The combat happens during an invasion
from outer space, but that really doesn't matter. This is a “you
are there” combat movie and the fact that the enemies are
aliens is incidental. If you want to see a visceral combat movie,
rent Black Hawk Down. If you want to see a sloppy, cheesy, but
entertaining alien invasion movie, rent Independence Day.
Unless you feel an intense need to watch a new group of actors shout
their way through a bunch of war-movie clichés, skip Battle:
Aaron Eckhart is the star of the show,
along with his chin, which has a dimple deep enough to collect lint.
Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo and
Michael Pena play soldiers or civilians who get caught up in the
battle. I'd go into detail about who's who and what their backstories are, but none of that really matters right now.
What matters is that the most
emotionally intense scene in the movie is immediately followed by a
sentence straight out of Airplane! It drew a good laugh from a
number of moviegoers at the advance screening I attended. Others in
the audience looked around with confused expressions, wondering why
people were laughing after such a stirring scene. I'd explain why
there was laughter, but that really doesn't matter right now.
Oh hell, I'm going to go ahead and
spell it out, since — hopefully — most of you won't see
the movie. Eckhart has a face-off with the soldiers under his
command, including one grunt who holds him responsible for the
death of his brother during a combat mission in the Middle East.
Eckhart goes into a long, impassioned monologue where he makes it
crystal clear that every one of the soldiers he lost — every
one! — mattered deeply to him. It's a cathartic moment for Eckhart
and a bonding moment for the whole group. For the audience, it's the
first scene that — ham-handed though it may be — actually
carries some weight.
Then, right after Eckhart's character
has touched the hearts of everyone around him on screen — and
most of us in the audiences — he abruptly says, “But none
of that really matters right now,” sounding just like Leslie
Nielsen in Airplane! Sure, I know he was indicating that it
was time for the group to return to the fight, but the choice of
words and the way they were delivered was really funny.
I should add that I'm probably not
quoting Eckhart exactly — I was laughing too hard to take
I should also add that this is not one
of those so-bad-it's-good movies. Battle: Los Angeles is just
tiresome and clunky, like its title. After an overlong set-up, the
oh-so-serious movie is merely a series of noisy battle scenes. Out of
its 117-minute running time, there's maybe five cool minutes, and
that includes the unintentionally funny part. Don't spend your money
on crap like this when there's much more entertaining crap you can