Friday, June 17, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Available on DVD

This apocalyptic action flick revolves around the daring exploits of a rag-tag team of Marines representing the last hope for humanity in the wake of an alien invasion which is decimating the planet. As the film opens, we are introduced to Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) as he’s called on the carpet for his soldiers having suffered heavy casualties in Iraq.
The humiliated platoon leader grudgingly agrees to retire, but not before first helping to whip their replacements into fighting shape. His new unit is a motley crew comprised of familiar archetypes.
There’s an untested Lieutenant (Ramon Rodriguez); a raw recruit (Noel Fisher) so young he had to get his parents’ permission to enlist; a veteran (Jim Parrack) suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder; a soldier (Ne-Yo) set to marry his sweetheart; another (Taylor Handley) who knows about Nantz’s checkered past; and the brother (Cory Hardict) of a G.I. who died overseas under the disgraced Sergeant’s command.
Just as this freshly-forged band of brothers is about to ship out, a mysterious meteor shower morphs into a lethal legion of hostile extraterrestrial armed to the teeth and bent on world domination. So, instead of being deployed to the Middle East, our intrepid heroes are sent to the City of Los Angeles where they join forces with Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez), a feisty Air Force Sergeant on a reconnaissance detail.
Despite the film’s futuristic pretensions, Battle: Los Angeles is basically an old-fashioned war flick which unabashedly employs every cliché associated with the genre. For instance, the fate of apprehensive Lieutenant Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) is sealed, cinematically, the moment he sits down to write an letter to his pregnant wife back home.
The film’s frenetic action consists of wave after wave of mindless mayhem intermittently interrupted by sentimental reminders that God is on our side and by simplistic sloganeering such as “Marines don’t quit!” and “Let’s go show ‘em how Marines fight!” With no message deeper to impart, some might suggest that the film amounts to little more than a two-hour PSA for the U.S. military. On the other hand, the less cynical are just as likely to rally behind these selfless defenders of God, Mom and apple pie.

Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for profanity, scenes of destruction and sustained, intense violence.
Running time: 116 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Featurettes entitled: “Behind the Battle,” “Aliens in L.A.,” “Preparing for Battle” and “Creating L.A. in Louisiana.”

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