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After years of whinging about the excessive damage done to my fair city in dozens of films over the years; I was certainly receptive to a town other than New York being on the unhappy side of a cinematic catastrophe for a change.  However, there’s no way I would possibly recommend that anyone from any town anywhere should fork over their hard earned dosh to actually sit through the tripe called Battle Los Angeles.

I’m not going to spend too much time on this one.  Aliens invade the earth, soldiers try to stop them.  There you go.  There are lots of explosions, loads of devastation and above all, tons of manly male bonding.  That’s actually making it sound more attractive a proposition than it is.  The poorly-designed aliens are absolutely incomprehensible and so there goes your fear factor.  Everything is also so cheap-looking that many of the creatures look like puppets and the debris of crumbled buildings look like Styrofoam.  Ultimately, Battle Los Angeles is a pitiful mash-up of every good alien invasion film there’s ever been.  War of the Worlds, Predator, Aliens, Terminator and District 9 will be foremost in viewers’ minds.  All these superior influences should have made for a better spawn, but what we have is more of an uninspired, half-baked rip-off than an homage and it’s just plain terrible.

I don’t know why this movie exists.  Truly, I don’t.  There is nothing to recommend its existence; it’s completely unoriginal, ugly as sin and the script is laugh out loud funny when we’re meant to be sobbing with sentiment.  Only the performances by the unfortunate cast are worth mentioning and then only with sympathy for their wasted efforts.  Aaron Eckhart gives it all he’s got and far more effort than this sinking ship is worth as he sells lines a less sporting actor would’ve fired his agent over.  I defy anyone to keep a straight face as Eckhart consoles a distraught child by telling him he needs the young boy to “be my little Marine,” or his heartfelt pep talk full o’ clichés to the surviving troops.  Shame is Eckhart, known more for dramatic roles, goes over unexpectedly well as a G.I. Joe-type action guy and maybe that was the motivation behind starring in this thing.  More’s the pity that the film is so dreadful no one will notice.  Michelle Rodriguez, who really needs a new shtick, is woefully underused as the resident tough girl.  Bridget Moynahan is charming but squandered as a clumsily inserted love interest for Eckhart.  Sans trademark chapeau and sporting horn-rimmed glasses, R&B star Ne-Yo is unrecognisable but effective as the squad’s comedy relief.  Sadly, Mr. –Yo’s work is lost as the dialogue drowns in the loud, mind-numbing action and the enormous amount of time spent on trying to develop these characters is completely wasted because you can’t tell one from another as they start getting picked off in battle.

The other notable thing about this film is that Battle Los Angeles may have inspired me to create a new annual movie award.  It will recognise any film that requires its audience to take Dramamine before viewing.  As if there wasn’t enough here to make one ill, Battle Los Angeles is poised to give moviegoers motion sickness with all its ceaseless and unrelenting shakycam -- which like the film itself -- exists for no good reason.  I’m calling this new award The Cloverfield.  Though there’s been a bunch of contenders already, I’m predicting that Battle Los Angeles has the championship on lock.

If there’s any purpose to Battle Los Angeles it’s as a sloppy, mawkish, preaching-to-the-choir love letter to the armed services.  However the movie is so terrible that there’s every possibility that treating a Marine or military service member to this soul-sucking, pandering stinker might be considered an act of treason.

Hoo-rah?  Hoo-boy.



~ The Lady Miz Diva

March 11th, 2011




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