- Running time:
- 116 minutes
- Aaron Eckhart -
- Ssgt. Michael Nantz
- Michelle Rodriguez -
- Tsgt. Elena Santos
- Ramon Rodriguez -
- 2nd Lt. William Martinez
- Bridget Moynahan -
- Ne-Yo -
- Cpl. Kevin Harris
A team of Marines led by Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) take on alien invaders intent on destroying Los Angeles. In addition to securing the city and fending off a completely unpredictable enemy, the Marines are also tasked with rescuing civilians (including Bridget Moynahan as a veterinarian babysitting her two young nieces and Michael Peña as a devoted father trying to protect his son).
The buzz: “Independence Day” meets “Black Hawk Down,” with an emphasis on the militaristic half of the equation. Director Jonathan Liebesman is making his big budget action debut after several smaller horror films (“Darkness Falls,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning”).
The verdict: This hard-charging “Battle” avoids the aggressive stupidity of Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich’s destruction blockbusters by keeping its relentless action simple and straightforward. There’s no heightened melodrama or frat boy swagger here, just a lean and mean focus on Marines at work. The approach proves more harrowing than fun, which could limit box office appeal, and a heavy tolerance for shaky handheld camerawork is required—at several points the balance between vérité realism and nauseating chaos tilts too heavily in the wrong direction. Despite an ensemble cast of familiar and new faces including Michelle Rodriguez and music star Ne-Yo, the sustained warfare doesn’t leave much time for the actors to flesh out their characters. That’s probably a good thing given screenwriter Chris Bertolini’s tendency toward trite emotional beats and backstories. Even with a thinly drawn role, Eckhart’s quietly commanding star turn helps ground the drama and drive home the film’s admiring portrait of military delivering under pressure. At a time when Hollywood is generally too afraid to touch America’s dual wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “Battle: Los Angeles” offers up a safer alternative—an imaginary adversary that’s only as invincible as the filmmakers allow.
Did you know? The critically important Los Angeles locations were actually shot in Shreveport and Baton Rouge, Louisiana for financial reasons.
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