Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Battle: Los Angeles" (2011) - Movie Review

It is funny when films like “Battle: Los Angeles” have the character’s name come up on the screen to introduce them thinking that they are adding some kind of reality. This is pure unadulterated Hollywood action and I mean it in a very bad way. This is worse than Roland Emmerich’s disaster films and does not even come close to the 30 pound cheese cake of “Independence Day”. This is timed wrong, done wrong and goes gloriously wrong.

Jonathan Liebesman directing this film is somewhat is the hangover of seeing “Cloverfield” which had better style and concept though lacking characters and story. In “Battle: Los Angeles” they do it almost right by not letting the audience think for most part of the film. Then suddenly they needed a closure to emotional vomit in these cheap flick and becomes an annoying crazy girl friend and the only way to get rid off her is that you have to vanish off the Earth completely.

Christopher Bertolini’s script steals all the horrible lines in the 80s war films and throws those amongst these marines. It is sad to see those said by these characters that draws so much sympathy towards them to go through with this ordeal even when you are aware that they got heftily paid. Somethings are not worth the money and to begin a career out of this film would be a suicide for any newcomers. And there are some and some more. But when you have seasoned and able actor like Aaron Eckhart take the bullet whilst escaping so many in the film, you cannot blame the kids.

If you thought Emmerich did not do justice in destroying the major cities in his films, then Jonathan Liebesman takes one city and lavishly makes it flaming and utterly destroys it just to get some personal giggles. We see the helicopter views, roof top views and personal views of dismembered and shambled Los Angeles. Despite these great feat of producing effects there is no sympathy for the city created in the film. Last year came “The Road” a beautiful darkly melancholic film treating two individuals in the post apocalyptic world and you cannot help yourself from drawing the sadness out of the environment they walk through. The Earth becomes a character that died tragically in that film and in “Battle: Los Angeles” it becomes a stale unnecessary object.

To summarize the whole film would be the following - explosion - mission - explosion - mission - sacrifice - sacrifice - mission - sacrifice - MISSION. Underline these with one of the worst cliched background war score by Brian Tyler you can save not alone money and time but the strain you would have had to endure throughout the film.

To the miniscule defense of the director I do have to say that despite the routine exercise of gun fights and humungous explosions, the movie kept it going. We do not much care for character or knowing their past but the action keeps coming unintelligently and as we have been programmed to be receptive of these signals, I went through without much opinion. Then Liebesman skips a beat to expose the sham I was witnessing and suddenly I broke out of the spell the Hollywood had us put under.

There are times when good actors lay their guards down and expose to blockbusters almost in an attempt to amuse themselves. Aaron Eckhart has done those a little early in his career before he found his touch. “The Core” would be the one I am talking about. He was a scientist and as any non-trained combat personnel in films he takes up the lead and gives it all up for the ending we know even before we entered the theater. And I wonder why he did not think that was enough? Why did not he choose some sensible sold out soul to make some reasonable film to make reasonably ridiculous money for the studio?

“Battle: Los Angeles” is not even a mindless action film rather it is an insult. I always shamelessly admit my love for the spectacularly flawed “Independence Day” mainly because it reminds me of the time I grew up watching Hollywood films in my hometown and wondering what kind of great quality films this industry churns out. Innocence at its best and may be that is the reason I like that film but I am all grown up with cynicism and bitterness and I cannot stand the sight of “Battle: Los Angeles”.

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