Will Battle: Los Angeles pull the alien invasion film back from the depths? Fareed Athman brings us this review.
To be brief, Battle: Los Angeles is another alien invasion film. With that, most people's instinctive response would be to steer clear. After panels and footage shown at last year's SDCC, however, it seemed that this was an alien invasion film with a difference. Involving some respectable names, gritty portrayals of urban warfare and a threat the likes of which has only been seen with such detail in videogames, BLA had the potential to be the invasion film to pull the once loved genre from the depths of the pit films like SkyLine had dragged it down to.
As with all alien invasion films, the structural premise is pretty simple: Aliens run out of resources on their home planet and decide to come and take ours, attempting to wipe out the human race in the process. In the case of BLA the aliens want our water, with Earth being one of few water-rich planets in the galaxy. For some reason everywhere except Los Angeles has been crushed by the fist of the men from *insert undiscovered planet here* and it's up to your stereotypical group of marines (including Aaron 'Twoface' Eckhart and Michelle 'Badass' Rodriguez) to take the state back.
This could be amazing. But unfortunately it's not. Everyone you'd expect to die, dies in the exact order you'd expect them to die in and the film pans out in a manner disturbingly similar to that of Independence Day. Moments of exaggerated patriotism often alienate a non-American audience and the film's relentless pace means character development is somewhat neglected. To add to this, there are very few visual encounters with the aliens (with most fight scenes involving rooftop ambushes in dust-filled streets), and although this could be considered a Ridley Scott-like attempt at suspense, it's not tension of this sort you're looking for when it comes to an all-out action film.
It's truly a shame that there are any negative aspects to this film whatsoever. Despite this, BLA does manage to be better than the majority of invasion films out there, feeling incredibly contemporary and realistic throughout and with spectacular special effects.
As painful as it may be to admit, BLA definitely doesn't win the battle for the perfect invasion flick. Eyes on the skies, let's hope the next ones to give it a go bring out the big ray-guns.