|Everything blows up nice but...|
It’s a drop-dead, gorgeous day in Atlanta. The sun is shining, there isn’t a cloud in the sky and it looks as if spring has finally arrived in the south. It is, without a doubt, the kind of day that should be spent enjoying some sort of outdoor activity...unless you’re a sci-fi fanboy who opted for a matinee of “Battle: Los Angeles” in a dark theatre. I am just such a fanboy! So without further delay, here’s my take on “B:LA”.Dang...I'm a poet and didn't know it!
I like to start on a positive note, and this film definitely has more than a few things going for it. First, and foremost, I have to prop up Jonathan Liebsman for making an alien invasion film that really LOOKS like an alien invasion film! There is nothing pretty about how these E.T.’s go about their business. From the second they land, they begin blasting hapless humans with abandon. The Los Angeles shoreline is littered with corpses, scorched bodies line the streets, and buildings are reduced to smoldering rubble. This is a WAR film and combat between the humans and aliens is fierce, gritty and reminiscent of “Blackhawk Down”. Without a doubt, Liebsman was inspired by the look and feel of the aforementioned film, and for his take on an alien invasion this atmosphere is gripping and engaging.
|We're here to kick ass and dish out pain!|
I must admit I derived what can only be called a perverse pleasure in watching Los Angeles burn from the alien attack. I’m not fond of that city in the slightest! Back in the late 80’s, I spent two days in that giant lunatic asylum, and wanted to leave two hours after I arrived. Everybody is an “AC-TOR” and when you order a #1 McDonald’s combo, you receive a copy of the cashier’s latest “awesome script”. YOU know it, I know it and most of all, Liebsman knows it! Watching LA go up in flames DOES provide a visceral pleasure for the viewer that would not be the same had the baddies chosen a location like Phoenix, Oklahoma City or Miami to unleash their brand of hell.
Let me preface this section by alerting you to THREE things GUARANTEED to warn you about just how bad a movie is.
1) Any film released between January and April or late August through mid November is one the studio knows will not stack up against the Summer and holiday blockbusters. These are the “garbage dump” months studios use to make a quick buck off a public stuck indoors because of crappy weather.
2) Any studio that releases film with an embargo on advanced screening reviews knows they have a stinker on their hands. Think “damage control” folks!
3) Films that plug and endless list of “Academy Award Winning” or “Nominated” actors are relying on celebrity clout because they know their story sucks.
“Battle: Los Angeles” falls into two of three categories, and that aint good. Owing to the fact that nobody in the cast has ever won an Oscar, you know what we’re left with.
|Square jawed jarhead? CHECK!|
The advanced review embargo is justified. If critics got hold of “B:LA” and reviewed it before its release, it would have killed the opening weekend box office quicker than a hooker with herpes nullifies a drunken sailor’s libido. “But how can this be,” you ask? Here, in no particular order are the reasons: Poor dialogue, giant plot holes, “shakey camera” filming technique, cliche characters and predictable character deaths riddle this film. Even Aaron Eckhart, who portrayed a brilliant Harvey “Two-Face” Dent in “Batman: The Dark Knight”, couldn’t save this movie from its shortcomings.
|I lack range in my acting!|
In closing, “B:LA” is not a bad movie, but it’s not a good movie either. It’s the kind of flick you can kill a couple of hours with and not regret doing so, but you’ll also realize that those two hours could have been better spent doing something like mowing your lawn. If you’re a diehard sci-fi fanatic, this film’s combination of action and outstanding eye candy will provide enough of a fix until the summer blockbusters hit. If you’re looking for sci-fi with substance, save your cash.
Action, atmosphere, design, explosions: A-
Plot, character development, Michelle Rodriguez as Michelle Rodriguez: D