Saturday, 12 March 2011
REVIEW: BATTLE: LOS ANGELES
A more welcome invasion.
12A, 116 Minutes. Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Will Rothhaar, Ramón Rodríguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo, Cory Hardrict, James Hiroyuki Liao & Michael Peña. Director: Jonathan Liebesman. Screenplay: Christopher Bertolini
Not another alien invasion movie out of Hollywood! Not another American army based movie! If that's what your thinking, don't worry. Sure this is another alien invasion/American army based movie, but this combination is what makes this a welcome and fresh take on our obsession with the idea of aliens being hostile (they may be alright you know). The genre is reinforced with a battalion of a cast and a full force of special effects and tank strong action set pieces. Inspired by the 'Battle Of Los Angeles' in 1942, (where there was a falsely suspected air raid of L.A. during World War II), this movie rages against the tired, sci-fi, mainstream genre machine.
Think 'Saving Private Ryan' meets 'Independence Day', this movie is a realistic piece of science-fiction that could of had a 'War Of The Worlds' effect on the more naive inhabitants of Los Angles if this movie took a leaf out of the fake-realism advertising book of Bradley Cooper's new movie 'Limitless'. The premise of this movie is simple. The world is under-attack from alien's, but as per usual in movies the focus is on Los Angeles as a bunch of emotional, passionate, conflicted U.S. soldiers lead the worlds resistance. HOORAH!!!
These 'Band Of Brothers' are led by Aaron Eckhart, who looks a little bit older, but at least he saves his whole face this time. 'The Dark Knight' star illuminates this picture with his strong acting and conviction in his battle-hardened characters confliction. Eckhart leads an army of diverse talent as they go to war with some refreshingly designed aliens and spaceships. Michelle Rodriguez again brings her trademark, out-of-this-world toughness to help give this movie more punch. Taking her pilot training from 'Avatar' out of Pandora to propel this movie even further forward. Also Ramón Rodríguez (no relation) furthers his great supporting roles in 'The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3' and the second 'Transformers' movie with a more commanding performance here.
There is even more force to this cast. 'True Blood's' Jim Parrack brings 'True Grit' to this movie like his name was Rooster Cogburn, while movie/T.V. and music video actor Cory Hardrict shows he's more then a recognisable face with a strong performance in his own personal battle with Eckhart's character. One of the movies great surprises is R&B star Ne-Yo. As the 'So Sick' talent 'Stomps The Yard' with a performance that shows he's got acting weapons as he trades his trilby for a helmet. Bridget Moynahan and Michael Peña also further their household names with some welcoming additions to the casts as civilians.
Liebesman's war like direction of this film adds a real authenticity to it. From L.A. freeways to backyards the action is thrilling, all travelling and real and right at your door. The special effects really are special and the lack of Hollywood shine on the fights scenes give this picture a even more thrillingly, terrifying real-life feel. The incredible city of Los Angeles looks epic even in it's downfall and as a Laker fan I'm just glad they didn't touch the STAPLES Centre. Even the acting and emotion in this film feels realer and more genuine. There's more beef to the hamming up and even the cheesy nature of this, like many American battle movies is more uplifting then other mainstream movies. This is thanks to the high-standard writing of Christopher Bertolini and the high-caliber of the acting talent at this movies disposal. Finally Hollywood is making inspiring action pictures as well as they did in the mid 90's.
'Battle: Los Angeles' is the perfect fix for those awaiting a taster of the Summer blockbusters yet to come and those disappointed by last years L.A. based, alien movie 'Skyline'. Sure this film may not be as flashy or as futuristic as the illuminating, ahead of it's time skyline of downtown L.A. at night, but it's more real and right now. Sure rumored sequels in other cities may cool off this franchise but this Friday night, 'escape in L.A.' is hot like the Californian sun. If this film was released in July it may not win the battle with the big name blockbusters, but right now in the madness of March, it wins the war. TIM DAVID HARVEY.