Greetings all, it’s time for me to write another review. This time it’s the movie Battle: Los Angeles. I have been reading about it for some time of course and decided it was time for me to splurge and go to a movie while it was still in the theaters.
***WARNING Spoilers Ahead ***
Normally, I’m to cheap and just wait for it to come out on HBO or something. It’s been a while so I and I’m tired of the same old routine so I broke out the corporate credit card and off I went to Chunky’s Cinema Pub. I figured that I may as well get a meal while I was out and Chunky’s also has a liquor license. I had a nice steak, baked potato, salad and beer.
The story revolves around you stereotypical United States Marine unit based in Camp Pendleton4, California. It has the usual mix of green platoon commander, grizzled, burned out Staff Sargent and the usual mix of rookie Marines. In other words, how Hollywood sees just about any Marine or Army infantry unit. The story opens with the various members of the unit going about their business while in the background are news reports of a meteor swarm that will hit Earth. No one is really concerned about it since the meteors are small and look like they are going to hit in the middle of the oceans.
Suddenly the Marines are put on full alert and issued weapons ammunition. None of them have any real information, although you see the television news playing in the background. The Marines hear that the meteors look like they will hit near the California coast and that major evacuations are going to take place so they think they’re just going to be aiding local authorities in that.
It comes out in the mission briefing that the meteors have changed direction and are slowing down below terminal velocity. They are also moving in formation which makes the powers that be believe these are aliens coming in for a landing. There are the usual alien jokes along with some disbelief among the young Marines, but they carry out their orders and fly off to LA just as the meteors start landing.
Now the CGI starts kicking in. The United States Marine Corp and the Pentagon assisted in the filming, providing real Marines and equipment. This shows with all the background shots and effects. The Marines head into LA in Boeing CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, which is the primary heavy lift helicopters used by the USMC. As they fly in you see meteors hitting just off shore and a coast guard cutter being capsized. Then the news reports show something coming ashore and the aliens attack. The Marines are flying into a battle.
The platoon is ordered into LA to rescue a group of civilians trapped in a police station and evacuate them before the Air Force launches a B-52 strike on the alien beachhead. They’re dropped off about a mile from the station and start moving through neighborhoods. (Shades of Fallujah5 I think) There’s heavy smoke and you can hear the sounds of battle in the distance. Everyone is tense and scared when a noise is heard coming out of the smoke. It turns out to be a dog and as the Marines start playing with it they come under fire for the first time.
Now you see the confusion of fighting when you can’t see your enemy. The Marines get shot up badly and realize they are outgunned and that they alien tech is more advanced then theirs. They also have trouble actually killing the aliens when they hit them. A number of Marines are killed and wounded and they make their way to cover.
I’m not going to do a blow by blow here, but suffice to say they make it in to the police station after picking up a few stray Marines and an Air Force Technical Sargent. They make it in and find a number of survivors. They call in a helicopter to fly them and the survivors out. (The aliens don’t have air cover) The first helicopter takes off and is promptly blown out of the sky by an alien fighter. Oops! The aliens now have air cover and now they can’t bring in helicopters for search and rescue.
The Marines pull back into the police station with a handful of survivors and are working out how to get back to the forward base when the Aliens find them and break into the station. More shooting and the Marines get one of the aliens barely alive.
Now this is a bit gruesome so when you see this be warned.
The Marines have been shooting at the aliens and hitting them but the aliens keep getting up. The Staff Sargent along with one of the survivors, (Who happens to be a veterinarian), decide to cut open the still living alien to find out how to kill it. They finally figure out where to aim just as they have to evacuate the station.
The Marines find a bus, load everyone on it and start back. They quickly realize the aliens are tracking in on their radios and cellphones and turn them off, but not before one of the alien fighter starts tracking the signals. The grizzled Staff Sargent grabs a radio, runs off into the smoke and rigs it to broadcast. When the alien ship comes in he throws a grenade at it and blows it up. He then finds out that it’s an unmanned drone.
There’s more shooting and more gloriously heroic deaths. The Marines and survivors finally clear the area that’s due to be pasted by the Air Force, and wait for the bombing to start. When it doesn’t happen they realize that the drones have changed everything and that the bomber were either shot down or the operation was canceled. Now they work their way to the FOB and find it’s been destroyed.
After making radio contact with their command, they are told to make their way to another extraction point. Again, much shooting but this time they have a LAV6 with a big cannon. They make it to the extraction point and are rescued. On the way back the Staff Sargent spots a darkened area and decides that’s where the enemy control center for the drones is. He and the other Marines slide down ropes from the rescue helicopter and make there way to the alien base.
Now they figure out the best way to stop the aliens is to call in artillery on the alien antenna. One Marine climbs a wrecked building, calls in for support, and before he gets away is blown up. (Of course)
Needless to say the Marines conquer and win the day.
Now I had a few nits to pick with the film. The Marines were very light on artillery and had no antiaircraft weapons at all. In real life they would have rockets, artillery and Stinger7 surface to air missiles. Also in real life, there is a very good chance that LA would have been nuked.
The plot was one that has been used hundreds of times, pretty much since they started making war movies, still it is a formula that works rather well. For those that like it, there was lots of bang bang and boom boom. The assist by the USMC in the production does show. Other then the few nits I picked, it looked realistic. Small unit tactics, the actors had a clue what they were doing and you didn’t have miracle diseases or easy to generate computer viruses to defeat the aliens.
So I rate this 6.5 out of 10 stars. It’s entertaining but don’t look for Academy awards here. I’ll probably buy the DVD when it comes out. If this is your kind of movie, then you will enjoy it. If you’re looking for artsy fartsy stuff, don’t bother.
~The Angry Webmaster~
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