Under the impression it had been universally panned by critics and audiences, I’d been avoiding Battle: Los Angeles. Also, I’d heard the words “shaky” and “cam” associated with the title which meant I had to wait until Mandi was out of the house to watch it.
Perhaps it was a case of low-expectations engendering a forgiving attitude, but I was impressed. It’s a by-the-books war movie though, not strictly an alien-invasion story. The enemy are aliens but they could easily have been Nazis, Viet Cong, Iraqi insurgents or even Red Dawn era Soviets. It doesn’t matter who they are. The film is really about a platoon of grunts thrown into a relentless FUBAR situation for about an hour and a half.
After watching the film, I wasn’t sure why it’d gotten panned so I looked it up
Rotten Tomatoes: “Overlong and overly burdened with war movie clichés, Battle: Los Angeles will entertain only the most ardent action junkies”.
Roger Ebert: “Noisy, violent, ugly and stupid… Generations of filmmakers devoted their lives to perfecting techniques that a director like Jonathan Liebesman is either ignorant of, or indifferent to. Yet he is given millions of dollars to produce this assault on the attention span of a generation.”
Time Out: “… flat military characters… hackneyed dialogue and corny sentimentality”.
Well, I can certainly see where these reviewers are coming from but I also have to cock an eyebrow at them. It seems almost like they were rating the film using The Hurt Locker as a standard and not summer popcorn movies like Aliens.
I think The Miami Herald got it about right:
“Not so goofy as Independence Day, not so terrifying as War of the Worlds, and it utterly lacks the imagination and emotional resonance of District 9.”