Saving Private Santa Monica
Battle LA is kind of a mess, and my frustration with the film is compounded by the fact that, between various trailers, websites, posters, and the actual movie's opening titles, the filmmakers aren't quite sure what to tell us the name of their stupid movie is. That's appropriate because I've seen Battle: Los Angeles/ Battle LA/ Battle Los Angeles, and I still don't know what the film was.
I do know of what it consists, though: derivative action scenes set amidst an alien invasion of Los Angeles, interspersed with cliched, troubled-men-at-war dialogue. Aaron Eckhart stars as Ssgt. Michael Nantz, a Santa Monica marine on the verge (of course) of retiring. He is unable to live as a non-combatant, however, when pesky aliens invade major cities...looking for ocean water to steal(?!). Forced back into action, Nantz joins the platoon of Lt. William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen). Tension between these two leaders- Nantz is second in command- compounds with past drama between the soldiers. However, not every conflict comes to fruition because the space beings attack the beach by sea and air. Our heroes fight through Santa Monica trying to rescue civilian survivors.
First-time director Jonathan Liebesman doesn't make good use of L.A. as a backdrop, as firefights with the cliched, gross aliens take place on indiscriminate overpasses and the like. Eckhart is really wasted on the material, a weak script by Christopher Bertolini. (Seriously, how many different films have you seen that feature a military man handing in his papers, only to be given some inescapable reason to join back up?)
The special effects, however, are nice to look at. The space craft have a particularly District 9 look, as sci-fi has moved into the realm of gritty, shaky-cam realism.
Skip this one,