Source: IMP Awards
OK, so it's that moment again where aliens are attacking earth. This time, Will Smith is not on hand to punch any aliens in the head (as in Independence Day) and former Dark Knight star Aaron Eckhart is left to pick up the pieces of a city that frankly has nothing to do with anything.
While the budget may have been cut by filming in and around Hollywood area, it has been raised in other areas of special effects and CGI that otherwise may have turned director Jonathon Liebesman's film into a catastrophe itself.
Staff Sergeant Nantz (Eckhart) has been placed in control of a platoon who has been made aware that meteors striking the earth are landing in specifically targeted areas (see War Of The Worlds). Following an unseen mission which previously failed, his platoon are weary about how capable the Sergeant is - especially after he handed in his notice a few hours previously.
Following a brief background on each member of the team - a nice touch in order to get the audience to feel emotion every time a man faces danger - the film gets straight into the action. The first few scenes are tense; the team have no idea who (or what) is attacking them (see Cloverfield) and they are just aware that they must make it to a police station to rescue civilians that have been left behind.
In my view, the film is split into two parts - the start of the action is very tense, and those liable to flinching may need some new underwear following the first sighting of the alien (which looks like, well, Alien). The second half (following a brief Assault On Precinct 13 -esque siege) is much more gun-ho which is where the film get its Black Hawk Down references from. It's okay though, the aliens have no air support and they're purely ground-based... oh, wait, there's a massive great control centre... that flies.
With all these movie references, it is easy to overlook Battle: Los Angeles as 'just another apocalyptic film'. It truly isn't. It is a mish-mash of everything that you could love about all those films mentioned above screwed up into a big ball of alien ass-whooping.
That aliens themselves are never rarely seen in any close detail - except where Eckhart is ripping one apart with his hands - and that naturally makes the audience feel very cold towards them. Deep underneath, however, they are very human-like in the way they act, from the methods of strategic attacks to one scene where one alien is pulling another injured from the fight.
Along with that, it is easy to miss the other sheer attentions to detail in the film. In one scene, Eckhart ties up a child's laces and informs him of 'safety first'. A slight romantic blossom, which never blooms, opens between Eckhart's character and the civilian vet, as they both bond; 'you have kids?', 'neither do I'. It are these tiny details that set it apart from other films.
While the ending may have been dragged out ever so slightly (at one point I thought Cloverfield was happening all over again) it certainly ended on a high.
Oh, and if you're worried about a lack of women, Michelle Rodriguez reprieves her role as the most macho lady on the planet.
It is certainly a film that you need to see.
Five stars. Bang, bang. Bang, bang, bang.