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Ten Word or Less Review: Aliens invade!  Again.

Aaron Eckhart and his mighty chin do battle with non-descript alien warriors for west coast turf in this loud exercise in alien invasion mayhem.  If this review comes across as functional, but lacking creativity, it’s because I’m merely trying to keep in line with the movie itself.  Battle: L.A. works okay for what it is, but what it is is a lot stuff you’ve seen done in a lot of other movies.

Like most alien invasion flicks the world is coasting along just fine.  Aliens have a knack for invading on sunny days.  We meet a bunch of non-descript jarheads doing their jarhead things.  People in movies like this have a knack for doing really boring stuff before the destruction kicks in.  Eckhart is the standard issue action guy about to retire out of guilt for something gone wrong in Iraq.  People in movies like this have a knack for being riddled with guilt about something.  With little warning a buttload of comets come crashing down off the coasts of major nations.  Shortly thereafter an army of heavily armed, aquamarine alien shitkickers march onto our shores and start waylaying everyone and everything with laser blasts.  Eckhart and his marines go into action, quickly finding themselves in a guerilla war scenario as Los Angeles becomes overrun with aliens.  That’s what’s here, take it or leave it.

Capably slapped together by Jonathan Liebesman, Battle: L.A. gets by on some technical proficiency and a respectable straight ahead nature.  It’s been made in the standard action movie mold of the day, which is to say everything is shaky and rattled.  It isn’t insultingly dumb, though it comes close on occasion.  More detracting than anything is the under thought and cobbled together with clichés way of the story.  The worst thing about it is the piss poor alien design.  The aliens look like a loose collection of limbs and tentacles wearing salad bowl helmets.  There’s some competent effects work here but the execution of the aliens leaves a lot to be desired.  Nor do they get much of a narrative.  They need water.  That’s it.  If there’s an FX upside I would single out the sporadic aerial shots of Los Angeles slowly being scorched away as the aliens invade one block at a time as a highlight.

Battle:L.A. should at no point surprise anyone.  If you don’t guess each death and emotional beat before they happen you’ve never seen a movie so you should maybe see something better than this.  But if distraction is all you need then it’s competently executed and doesn’t land with a complete thud.  It’s another notch in Hollywood’s ever lengthening resume of alien invasion flicks.  Unmemorable to be sure, but passable all the same.



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