Friday, March 25, 2011

Quickie: Battle: Los Angeles

Have you ever watched someone try to be "cool"? It's excruciating. Especially when it's a good friend. The wide smile that you know is really a grimace, the bead of sweat the belies how much effort is really going into trying to make all the right jokes or references. And because your on the outside looking in, you know that no one is buying it- but the horror show continues.

Battle: Los Angeles tries so hard. But where our sad friend above tried so hard to be cool, B:LA attempts desperately to be emotional. It's like Director Jonathon Liebesmen and writer Chris Bertolini knew that everyone would peg their project as an empty headed action movie- and so they force fed it all the heart-related tropes they could fit (and a few they couldn't) in hopes of proving the would be detractors wrong.

If you've ever seen a war film you already know everything you need to know about these "characters". They are a hodge podge of wartime personailties that monologue and sacrifice themselves in all the same ways as their predecessors. Each has a back-story established in one minute or less, meant only to make you miss them when they're gone, which you won't. Most of the performances are well done if not a bit bare bones, especially Aaron Eckhart who seems unwilling to let his one shade character lay still.

Going into B:LA I told Watcher X that it couldn't possibly be worse the Skyline, which was literally made up of set pieces and story lines cut and pasted from every alien invasion movie ever made. I wouldn't say that I was wrong, B:LA is certainly not worse then the broken Skyline, but it suffers from the same basic issues. Where Skyline assembled itself from used sci-fi action parts, B:LA relies on (overly) tried and true emotional parts -with a few very recognizable action moments to boot. But both are so crammed full of recycled material that the stretch marks start to show before the halfway mark.

It's a common enough story- well advertised in no way means well made. Like anyone who tries hard to be something their not, this movie over shoots it's target and lands far on the other side- in new territory but still nowhere near where it wanted so desperately to end up. While certainly enjoyable, Battle: Los Angeles is far from a must have, or even a must see. If your looking to pad your personal sci-fi portfolio then it may serve you well- but innovation seekers need not apply.

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