The title of the film is not deceiving in the least. There is a battle waged in the heartland of present day Southern California. Los Angeles is just one of the many cities being invaded by extraterrestrial life forms. It is up to our armed forces (the Marines highlighted in this film) to save mankind. This is the basic premise to a basic sci-fi action film. Battle: Los Angeles is the epitome of a formulaic seeks and destroys the enemy, civilian rescue mission. The problem is it has a difficult time sticking to one of the aforementioned formulas. The film is disheartening by its lack of coherence as it is loud and overly obscure.
Aaron Eckhart stars as Staff Sergeant Nantz, a war veteran with an unpleasant reputation. He is scathed with a shattered past that deals with the deaths of men in his previous unit. The film begins with an aerial view, from the Hollywood Hills, of downtown Los Angeles (with believe it or not background music provided by 2Pac’s iconic hit single “California Love”). The audience is given brief introductions to the supporting cast, which includes R&B music sensation Ne-Yo playing Corporal Kevin Harris. Ten minutes is the maximum time the audience invests any emotions for the characters as the uproarious alien assault takes place shortly thereafter.
What starts off as CNN coverage of meteors hitting the coasts of major cities drastically turns to a full fledged assault by aliens. These aliens look like they are made out of metal along with the space ships they rode in on. Los Angeles inhabitants are being evacuated out of the city, but it is up to the marines to save civilians trapped in a vacant police precinct. As the city is being demolished by the alien life forms, Nantz and his men roam the streets of Santa Monica (well what’s left of it) in order to save the surviving civilians. It is here they meet Technical Sergeant Santos (played by Michelle Rodriguez). Their position is compromised as the aliens surround them at the vacant West Los Angeles police department. A shoot em’ up rag tag guns blazing scene occurs and numerous follow. It is here the audience has a difficult time, after the shooting subsides and the dust clears, identifying a central heroic main character.
Cheesy dialogue is the cheesiest in this film that the script might as well be sponsored by Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. The consensus as to why the aliens invade earth is simplistic and the outcome is tiresome. Parts of the film are uneven and somehow feel like the audience is involved in a recruitment film by the marines. Character development is lacking to put it mildly, but usually in a film like this it can be forgiven, usually. For Battle: Los Angeles this is not the case. Not only is it an oversight it is a misstep.