Staff Sergeant Nantz was only a few days from leaving active duty, but an unexpected arrival of visitors have forced him to lead his platoon on something never witnessed before, an alien invasion. With the orders to search the streets of Santa Monica and find survivors before the area is leveled off, Nantz and his marines are facing an unknown enemy that is deadlier than any other opponent. Can Kant’s and the marines make it out alive and help recapture Los Angeles? Or succumb to the invaders?
Even in paper the movie just simply sounded like any other alien invasion story that’s been told over and over, but somehow Battle: Los Angeles managed to stand on its own and take viewers for a ride. Watching the supplements really gives you an insight into what the director was aiming for; he had a very clear idea of what he wanted on an alien invasion film. He managed to take a story that’s been told in various movies and turn it into an adrenaline filled ride. He envisioned a film that had little talking and lots of action and for the most part he achieved it. He emphasized on having the audience know each an every one of the characters to have more attachment towards them. However, that was one of the annoying parts of the film and definitely that could have been shortened. The plot was simple to follow, corny and perhaps somewhat predictable, but some of its nuances can be overlooked. I did find writers to be a bit vague with certain pieces of the movie as if they are withholding important information. Then again this information doesn’t really impact the way the film moves ahead.
Battle: Los Angeles looked fantastic all around, considering that the city of Santa Monica was actually recreated in Louisiana. To make all this happen was a fantastic feat. This of course gave the film its gritty look and very fitting atmosphere. Even I was fooled and I have lived in L.A. for 15 years. The filmmakers tried to create something new and fresh that hasn’t been seen before with the creation of the aliens, however, their vision was somewhat lazy. Why lazy? The editing look very corny, I didn’t mind the hectic look of the film nor the shaky cam style, because after all the film is about a chaotic situation, but the editing just feels lazy. The overall look could have been better, but I guess if you overlook all this the film is entertaining. The film’s cast is decent with Aaron Eckhart being the only actor worth following. The rest are far from good, they all seem to fill their respective roles, but the script is weak so we can’t really ask for more.
Sure, the film could have been better, could have looked better, and definitely could have been written better, but some of these “brainless” action films are definitely entertaining when you choose to just concentrate on enjoying it. Perhaps ditching the shaky cam style in favor of a different shooting method would help viewers understand the chaos, but alas what’s done is done.
Battle: Los Angeles arrives on Blu-ray with a MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.40:1. After a somewhat disappointing feature presentation, we can at least enjoy an excellent video transfer. The picture is crystal clear, a simply impressive pristine image that bring out all the little nuances of the film. The colors are very life-like, Detailing is exceptional; textures are very revealing, close up shots display all facial skin textures, and even the surroundings are extremely detailed. The image has a great amount of depth. Black colors are very rich and they do not overwhelm the picture allowing the film to enjoy very detailed night scenes. Battle: Los Angeles looks excellent on Blu-ray.
Battle: Los Angeles arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. Just as expected from a title like Battle: Los Angeles, a loud and wall shaking track that fully delivers and matches the action on the screen. Dialogue is delivered effortlessly, although some may have difficulty with some parts of the movie, but most of the film features good dialogue reproduction. The rears deliver atmospheric and other effects creating a very enjoyable 360 degree soundfield. The track captures the action completely from the bullets flying through the soundstage to the alien ships buzzing through the streets of Los Angeles. Battle: Los Angeles sounds great on Blu-ray.
Command and Control – Picture-in-Picture (PiP) featurette allowing for storyboards and more. You can also play back each piece from the list: Staff Sergeant Nantz, Marine Behind the Scenes, Aliens Ambush The Marines, Battling Unknown Forces, Technical Sergeant Santos, Alien Autopsy, Gas Station Explosion, Visual FX on the Freeway, Do You Believe in Aliens?, and Alien Command & Control.
Behind the Battle – The filmmakers and actors talk about the movie, story, and their experiences during the filming of the film.
Directing the Battle – Filmmakers and actors talk about how Director Jonathan Liebisman got the job and how he filmed the movie.
Aliens in L.A. – Filmmakers talk about creating and bringing the aliens in the film to life.
Preparing for Battle – Actors shed a light oh how difficult it was to film because of all the physical activities they were required to perform.
Boot Camp – Filmmakers and actors talk about boot camp and what they learned for the movie.
Creating L.A. in LA – Filmmakers talk about the creation of the set and recreating Los Angeles in Louisiana.
The Freeway Battle – This piece shows how the filmmakers created the freeway scene of the film.
Battle: Los Angeles tried a distinct approach to the alien invasion story that’s been taken to the big screen over and over. However, it just didn’t quite make a big impression. Sure, it can give you something to watch over the weekend, but the film has some flaws that can be quite annoying. The writing of the film was disappointing and it was apparent throughout the film. Let’s not forget the corny video editing that seems like an amateur was in charge. There’s plenty of action and enjoyable moments, so if you are willing to overlook some of these problems you may just enjoy the film.