Ever since 1996’s alien invasion smash Independence Day, there have been numerous imitations bringing various success. Unfortunately, Battle: Los Angeles falls flat in bringing new energy to the aliens attack genre. The film begins with mother Earth hit with mysterious asteroids falling near major metropolitan areas, and scientists quickly deduce that the asteroids are a form of attack. Meanwhile, staff sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhardt) has returned home to Los Angeles from Iraq, looking to retire from service after a mission full of fatalities under his watch.
As asteroids fall and alien forces march out of the ocean, the U.S. military scrambles to form an offense. Nantz is assigned a team of young corporals who are wary of his reputation but begrudgingly follow along. The team is assigned with the mission of rescuing civilians who are stuck in a Santa Monica police station. With aliens beginning a ground offense near the coast, the Navy is set to bomb the entire area within hours.
As Nantz’s team moves toward the civilians, they encounter the aliens and engage in a claustrophobic gun fight. I found this to be the most enjoyable and suspenseful part of the film with many intense and gritty moments . In a predictable scene, an alien is captured and the team figures out how to dispatch the aliens (with extreme prejudice…). Eventually the team finds the stranded civilians and then focus on how to destroy the commanding control ship – and perhaps find a way to defeat the aliens once and for all.
While the film benefits from focusing on Nantz’s team and the civilians they attempt to rescue, it is nearly impossible to bring any new plot twists or surprises to this genre of film. Aaron Eckhardt is tough and likable in this lead role, and will assuredly be making his mark elsewhere down the line in better roles. With recent films like District 9 and Starship Troopers already covering very similar ground, Battle: Los Angeles will likely be a tiny blip on the radar of a crowded genre.
The survey says…2.5 stars out of 5