Audiences ‘Battle’ against boredom

by Andrew Scoggins

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Publicity

If anyone saw the previews for “Battle: Los Angeles,” they knew exactly what they were getting into. Massive explosions, action, aliens, Michelle Rodriguez playing the same tough chick role she plays in every movie and more explosions. If this is a criteria movies are graded on, then “Battle: Los Angeles” should be nominated for an Academy Award.

The movie starts with the obligatory exposition of its disposable soldier characters and gives them each brief backstories so when they are blown up later, the audience feels something for them. After losing his platoon in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) considers retirement but decides against it because aliens are attacking. Cpl. Kevin Harris (Ne-Yo) was soon to be married but his plans are delayed because aliens are attacking. This goes on for about 10 minutes until the audience gets the payoff of marines fighting aliens for the next hour and a half.

The aliens are all half robotic, half frog-looking creatures that attack because they need Earth’s water to power themselves and their massive ships. This is explained by a 30-second clip of an academic-looking man on a television with no explanation as to how he came up with that conclusion. The aliens themselves seem to enjoy climbing onto buildings and using cover effectively for the first part of the movie, but then seem content in running around exposed during the last half.

After the Marines dissect one of the wounded aliens, they discover the species dies if it it shot in the chest — where they were trying to shoot before was never quite explained — but after this revelation the marines cut through the aliens like butter. At one point Michael uses his sidearm to shoot through armor that he previously spent entire clips shooting with his assault rifle in the beginning of the movie.

After the humans get stomped in the first alien assault and LAX gets leveled, Michael gives an inspiring speech to his troops and decides to attack the mother ship control center head-on. With his few men, he storms the base and dispatches the handful of aliens left to protect the entire base of operations of the alien attack force.

The entire plot is incredibly laughable and almost silly. Some of the dialogue is so heavy-handed and cheesy that a few audience members were actually laughing during one of the movie’s “tense” moments. The Daily Aztec recently interviewed Ne-Yo about his role in the movie, and he stressed that the audience would empathize with the characters’ struggles, and that would separate it from the other alien combat action movies. But this is not the case. The characters are all no different, and despite some halfhearted attempts at giving the audience some sort of emotional connection, the movie consists entirely of the Marines barking orders at each other. Cue explosion.

Movie: Battle: Los Angeles
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
Release Date: March 11
Grade: C-

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