BATTLE LOS ANGELES - Some John Wayne Sh*t
WORLD INVASION: BATTLE LOS ANGELES (sci-fi/action)
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Ne-You, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena and Michelle Rodriguez
Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Screenplay: Chris Bertolini
Time: 116 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: The aliens are attacking Los Angeles - again! However, this time around, they are invading other major cities like Paris and Tokyo as well, not just in California. Sounds like deja vu?
Not quite. This one is definitely not the US$10-million turkey that was last year's Skyline, but an attempt at epic-style warfare reminiscent of War Of The Worlds.
THE SKINNY: Like I have said above, the extra-terrestrials are invading Earth, ostensibly for its most 'precious commodity' (water). Many major coastal cities have fallen but not LA. Not without a fight, though. However, instead of a showing a well-
concerted national effort to ward off the invasion, the movie focusses on a squad of US Marines led by Staff Sgt. Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart, pictured below) who are assigned to rescue a group of civvies at a police station in Santa Monica.
Of course, they have a deadline to complete the mission before the place is blown up - but hey, that's obviously a script-writer's gimmick to heighten tension.
HITS AND MISSES: Director Jonathan Liebesman opens the movie with the 'big picture' presented via news reports on TV - what looks like meteors are dropping onto various parts of Earth. Then he shifts to the 'micro' level - where we see Sgt Nantz handing up his letter of resignation from the Marines. Of course, given the 'big picture' earlier, we can predict how his so-called 'resignation' will go. Nantz leads a platoon of cardboard characters like Second Lt William Martinez (Ramon Rodrigeuz), Cpl Jason Lockett (Cory Hardict), Cpl Nick Stavrou (Gino Anthony Pesci) and Cpl. Kevin Harris (Ne-yo).
Things perk up a bit when the platoon is joined by Sgt Elena Santos who is played by Michelle Rodriguez (left), the sexy kick-ass fighter-pilot from Avatar. Maybe she would provide some real kick-ass action... Expectedly, Liebesman uses hand-held camera to heighten the confusion of the battle scenes and succeeds in the confusion part; the civilians (played by Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena) provide some emotional scenes - and predictably, the film closes with pure gung-ho Hollywood-style heroic action. Quite devoid of humour, twists and depth, the quality of the movie goes from bad to worse - as the fire power and explosions increase.
THE LOWDOWN: Like someone in the movie said, it's 'some real John Wayne shit'.