Last weekend brought us a sci-fi flick of the make-ya-think variety in "The Adjustment Bureau." Now comes a sci-fi offering, "Battle: Los Angeles," that trades cerebral thrills for jump-outta-your-seat action.
And with no new animated fare to get in the way — "Rango" debuted last weekend with $38 million and "Mars Needs Mom" is expected to bomb this weekend — "Battle: L.A." is expected to nab the top box-office spot with potentially more than $30 million in sales (in contrast to $21 million for "Adjustment Bureau"). The #1 opening, mind you, will come despite rather tepid reviews. While critics have generally lauded the film's action sequences, they've dinged its character development, among other things. For that sort of critique and more, read on to hear what the pros have to say about "Battle: L.A."
"Taking character cues from James Cameron's 'Aliens,' 'Battle: Los Angeles' follows a Marine platoon — Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Will Rothhaar, Cory Hardict, Jum Parrack, James Liao, Ne-Yo, among others — who end up in the middle of a worldwide war between man and invader. The film focuses on our main group, while offering small-references to what's going on globally. While the idea of an alien attack in absolutely terrifying, 'Battle' comes off more like a summer action movie with a massive scope and insane visual effects." — Brad Miska, Bloody Disgusting
"There's also a lot of stuff in 'Battle: Los Angeles' that kicks some serious ass. Namely, its long and frequently intense action scenes, a (mostly) expeditious narrative trek that keeps the mayhem frequent and the talky bits painless, a rock-solid hero that makes up for some egregiously under-written support soldiers, and special effects that range from enjoyably kitschy to pretty damn impressive. Director Jonathan Liebesman takes the leap from horror to big-time action with unexpected confidence." — Scott Weinberg, FEARnet
When it Works ...
"When the film is at its strongest, you get caught up in an elemental game of strategy and survival, abetted by frighteningly believable digital effects and a hectic, street-level realism. 'Battle: Los Angeles' toys with audiences' fears of It Happening Here. In all, it's a solid B movie with A-level ordnance. 'Battle: Los Angeles' only oversteps its bounds when you sense it trying to be the 'Saving Private Ryan' of alien invasion flicks." — Ty Burr, The Boston Globe
When it Doesn't ...
"For a reasonable while, 'Battle: Los Angeles' is a credible, low-wattage warfare film.... But in time -- and watching it makes for a long couple of hours -- the film is infused with a vein of sentimentality and jingoism, stopping its hectic pace (despite a ticking-clock plot) to extol the virtues of soldierly self-sacrifice, honor and duty, all unironically, all hamfistedly. The effect is to turn a brain-optional shoot-'em-up into a military recruiting commercial, which may not be an accident." — Shawn Levy, The Oregonian
The Final Word
"As alien invasions go, 'Battle: Los Angeles' falls squarely in the middle of the pack. It's not so goofy as Independence Day, not so terrifying as 'War of the Worlds,' and it utterly lacks the imagination and emotional resonance of 'District 9.' It is, however, a solid popcorn movie, with plenty of action, explosions and low-key mayhem unlikely to scar even the most fragile of psyches. It's the sort of film that's entertaining while you're in the theater, even though you'll probably have forgotten it by the time you've reached your front door." — Connie Ogle, Miami Herald
Check out everything we've got on "Battle: Los Angeles."
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