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Battle: Los Angeles
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Ne-Yo, Bridget Moynahan, Bryce Cass, Michael Pena, Michelle Rodriguez, Neil Brown, Jr. and Taylor Handley
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Scriptwriter: Christopher Bertolini
Rating: PG 13 for violence, language and themed material
Running Length: 115 minutes
Earth is invaded again by space aliens. When in doubt for a script, this is always a good theme. Toss common sense out the window and start making a list of previous films with this idea. In “Battle: Los Angeles,” the Marines fight space aliens leftover from District 9. Sound effects are explosions, creaks and groans such as you would have from a space ship lifting itself off the ground. Dialogue is lost in the shuffle.
Aaron Eckhart (Rabbit Hole) is Sgt. Nantz, second in command of his unit. While overseas, Nantz lost men in a battle and is considered a pariah by other soldiers. He is second in command now to 2nd Lt. Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez), who is new and nervous. A few minutes later, something has landed around the world near water and is not from this planet. Oh, really? What gave it away?  The battle here centers on Los Angeles and soon Rodriguez picks up a few more soldiers (Michelle Rodriguez for one) who are on a secret mission. The group tries to rescue civilians (Bridget Moynahan and friends), but the helicopter is blown apart and they are stranded. For a few seconds each, we meet individual soldiers enough to find out who is careless, who is afraid and who is superstitious. Then the battle resumes. You can just about figure out what is going to happen, but it is interesting how they get from Point A to Point B. All the while, Eckhart keeps explaining his past situation to anyone who asks and telling a small boy (Bryce Cass) that he has to be brave. Why are the aliens here?  When the question is finally asked. You have it figured out and it is not for peanuts.
Special effects are good, especially the bombardment of the alien weapons. It’s almost like smoke curling from a cigar. There are narrow escapes, inventive schemes, plenty of firepower and when they need a doctor, it is Bridget Moynahan who is a veterinarian. When all is said and done, these aliens haven't been here before (the story on television’s V) and what constitutes a heart for them is to the right of our heart. Hence, the order to shoot “…just to the right of the heart.”  Bravery is everywhere  (“I'll stay behind…”) and the Marines are the best with one or two off-the-cuff comments about the other branches of the military. Whenever the camera finds Aaron Eckhart in the action, he reminds you more and more of the late Robert Mitchum, who also had his share of war films, but did not fight aliens. 
Copyright 2011 Marie Asner




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