"We cannot lose Los Angeles."
"One thing is clear, the world is at war."
Perhaps Cowboys And Aliens (2011), released the same year, was a bit too close for comfort, because South African director Jonathan Liebesman's Battle: Los Angeles (2011) easily should have been named Soldiers And Aliens. Neither film is required viewing for genre fans. Both are rather dumb and simple.
Funny enough, I pulled this science fiction war drama off the shelves in the midst of the NLCS between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers (2018). Los Angeles would lose their battle in the 2018 World Series to the juggernaut that was the Boston Red Sox. But I digress.
As someone pretty disgusted by all things liberal Hollywood witnessing a battle take place there would be just fine with me. Alright not really. Seriously Battle: Los Angeles (2011) is pure sci-fi action escapism. It isn't more than an alien invasion movie dropped into the kind of shaky camera work performed so much more effectively in films like Ridley Scott's Black Hawk Down (2001). Only you actually cared about the soldiers amidst that film's modern warfare.
For fans of the war genre and aliens Battle: Los Angeles delivers the kind of action and impact that was often missing from the character drama that permeated the executive produced Stephen Spielberg TNT drama Falling Skies (2011-2015). Still the latter is entirely absent here.
This is nothing but an adrenaline rush of modern warfare against aliens. Having said that, this is all a rather empty affair. The bio-mechanical creatures are intriguing enough to genre fans, but this film is a hollow shell, a poorly penned excuse for the kind of alien invasion science fiction that made South African director Neil Blomkamp's District 9 (2009) so damn fascinating and the far more intriguing science fiction of the two South African filmmakers.
Liebesman creates a gritty lived in atmosphere with a healthy respect for a diverse, patriotic American United States Marine Corps. He also doesn't bog down the picture in unnecessary CGI effects. There's a sense of authenticity about the event unlike the CGI heavy pictures he would direct that would follow like Wrath Of The Titans (2012). Battle: Los Angeles if anything looks great even if empty.
Battle: Los Angeles is a steady, sturdy invasion picture with a lot of flair and excitement. Alien boots are on the ground along with American combat soldiers but Liebesman but barely attempts to put a face to the characters as they are essentially unidentifiable. This is B movie fare without much heart or anything memorable to make it worth a return. Its biggest deficiency would be the camera work and editing. It's all too shaky and quickly edited respectively to fully embrace. It can all be a bit of a blur albeit an exciting blur.
This is serviceable, mindless, action fare done well, but certainly nothing too especially special or wondrous about it at all. Bad writing and lack of character make this a mostly forgettable battle.
Battle: Los Angeles. Director: Jonathan Liebesman. Writer: Chris Bertolini.