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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles



In Battle: Los Angeles, War is Hell. And Loud. And Dirty, Very Very Dirty. Everyone and everything is covered in debris, ash and schmootz. Whoever wins the war better have a Dustbuster the size of an aircraft carrier. Aaron Eckhart toplines Battle: LA as a Marines staff sergeant who was one day away from retirement. He thought he was out, but then a bunch of aliens invaded the Earth, and they pulled him back in.  Eckhart has a bad rep from a previous mission that went sideways where he was the only survivor of his squad. His new squad doesn't trust him, but they're a hodgepodge of military movie cliches like The Soldier About To Get Married, The Scared Rookie On This First Mission, and The Young Commander Fresh Out of the Academy In Over His Head.  The last cliche is played by Ramon Rodriguez, who was Shia LaBeouf's annoying sidekick in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Will Rodriguez ever face an alien invasion without cowardly crapping his pants?  Eckhart's new squad is sent on a mission to rescue civilians trapped in a police station. They have three hours before the Air Force drops bombs and levels Santa Monica. Eckart is almost relived when they arrive at the police station and they meet Bridget Moynahan and Michelle Rodriguez. "Finally," he must've thought, "I'm not the only movie star in this movie!" The aliens in Battle: LA are never named but intercut news reports throughout the movie tell us that, like the aliens in the original V, they're here for our water. (Unlike M. Night Shyamalan's aliens, they aren't afraid of water and traveled to a planet 70% covered by it.)  Oh, another thing, throughout Battle: LA we're told that the aliens have attacked and laid waste to over 20 major cities worldwide, but the news keeps broadcasting with experts blathering on despite every major network being located in the cities being destroyed. Clanking hardware aside, the aliens are not interesting, or cool looking, or even remotely memorable. Thousands of people, civilian and military, are killed in Battle: LA, but only Eckhart figures out how to kill the aliens (shoot them "to the right of where our hearts are"), and only Eckhart determines the alien airships are drones taking orders from a gigantic Command and Control unit. Yet no one uses morse code to tell the rest of the world to bring down the C&C units a la Independence Day. As the battle(: LA) rages on, Battle: LA grows redundant and never really shifts out of one gear, but it is occasionally kind of fun to watch Eckhart clinch his square cleft jaw, speak in rasps, and do "John Wayne shit" to fight the aliens, inspiring his squad to do the same, even forgoing breakfast to keep on fighting. When Eckhart is told by his superiors the humans are losing Battle: LA, he refuses to retreat and keeps fighting. No way will Aaron Eckhart lose Battle: LA.