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Battle: Los Angeles


Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moyhahan, Ne-Yo, Michael Pena

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

It’s August 12th, 2011 (keep the date free if you can) and Los Angeles, or rather, Santa Monica, comes under scarifying attack from alien spaceships which are first mistaken for a meteor shower as they approach the planet, until it becomes obvious that they are being guided on their invasion of earth.

And who is going to save Mankind from the patently malign extraterrestrials? Naturally, they’re not just attacking L.A./Santa Monica. Television screens, which are possibly the most effective (and cheapest) way of keeping audiences up-to-date without having to deploy special effects attacks on Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building, Taj Mahal and the Coliseum to show world-wide disaster, briefly establish a the alien invasion before director Liebesman settles down to show us how US Marines saved the world – again.

‘Battle: Los Angeles’ delivers a splendid serving of special-effects-created science fiction spectacle and explosive combat action and, more to the point, provides a paean of praise to US Marines who, led by leathery Eckhart (“I did my 20 years. I know when to get out”), who doesn’t get out when push comes to shove, save Mankind (or Los Angeles, at least) from bizarre attacking spaceships and murderous humanoid robots.

Semper Fidelis indeed!

The name of John Wayne is taken, but essentially while some of the marines claim not even to have heard of him, Eckhart and Co do him proud and further burnish the reputation of the USMC.

Special effects are excellent and suitably dirty-looking as befits the dirty war being waged by the aliens, there’s enough thundering orchestral music to fill a season at the Proms and suitable performances from the multicultural cast that ranges from all-American military men to feisty women, Hispanics, African Americans and even a Nigerian. Acting, however, isn’t the name of the game here.

Action, explosions, gunfire and blazing spectacle are what matters here and on that level alone, ‘Battle: Los Angeles' delivers handsomely. Call me a philistine but I preferred Liebesman’s adrenaline-driven invasion to Spielberg’s overblown War of the Worlds.

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Sony. Colour.
116 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 08 Mar 2011