Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles (2011)

Basically a very well-rendered, if not particularly imaginative, video game cut-scene, this actioner with sci-fi overtones concerns the military response to a hostile extra-terrestrial invasion, specifically on the coast of Los Angeles. While I disagree with Roger Ebert's half-a-star(!) review, I think he gave the movie too much credit by writing it a full-page review. This is not a full-page review type movie, because I doubt the execs ever gave a full page of notes during the whole show. This is a thin, thin, thin, thin movie, with terribly cliched dialogue, characters, and situations that even the most mildly educated cinephile will see coming a mile away ("Bye, Hoyt!"). The action is, until the end, pretty terrific, but it becomes obvious that the budget constrictions did not allow for ID4 or War of the World style carnage; even so, the more intimate battle scenes are nail-bitingly intense and well-choreographed. However, it does not fully redeem the grade-school scripting, and the movie is left to remain the cinematic equivalent of playing Gears of War for 2 hours (while being forced to watch the godawful dramatic cut-scenes, of course).

Slightly Recommended for action junkies, and fans of Aaron Eckhart, who is actually a badass and grizzled Staff Sgt. The rest of the cast is wasted, and if I see another movie where Michelle Rodruiguez pops up as a marine named "Santos," or anything similar, she will have fully lost her tough-chick street cred (although her "I got guns too, bitch" was a clear highlight in Avatar).

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