Battle: Los Angeles is full of intense action that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It has as much fire and explosions as you could ask for, but little plot development. Filmmakers had to choose between making a film full of action where there was little room for any drama and plot, or a film full of drama with less action - director Jonathan Liebesman chose action.
Many meteors are heading toward earth - not just anywhere, some of the biggest cities across the globe, including London, Rio de Janeiro and, of course, Los Angeles. But it's not just the regular kind of meteors threatening to destroy these cities - it's much worse. The "meteors" are actually aliens heading to earth to take over, starting with the metropolis centers.
It's up the Marines to save the city of Los Angeles from being completely overpowered by the aliens. But these martians are strong and put up quite the fight. It's hard to tell who wins - I have my opinion, but I don't want to give too much away.
Aaron Eckhart plays Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz, who is on the brink of retirement after losing some soldiers on his last deployment. In the "all hands on deck" mission, he is forced back out to the battle ground, and in front of the men who blame him for their fellow soldier's deaths.
The film displays incredible special effects and the sweeping scenes of a destroyed and smoking Los Angeles are both cinematically magical and devastating at the same time. It's a lot of repetitive action and flame filled explosion, but if that's what you're looking for, you've come to the right place.
The story tries to leave room for some character and plot development with the Staff Sergeant Nantz subplot and the resentment that follows. They also start the film with storylines about a couple of the soldiers - one is still a virgin, another is about to get married and planning his wedding with his fiance, we see another leaving his pregnant wife at home and saying he will call her. These would have made sense and could have been a integral part of the story, if they were ever touched on again.
Battle: Los Angeles seems a little confused about what it's trying to be. Is it an alien sci-fi thriller? Most of the film is pretty much exactly that. But there are elements of cheesy horror, looking for a cheap scare. One scene in particular features the soldiers poking and prodding a dying alien, trying to figure out how to kill it. The grotesque images last for much too long.
Overall, Battle: Los Angeles is more a decoupage of alien horror movies than anything brilliantly original. If you're looking for an entertaining two hours with a little suspense and a lot of gun shooting soldiers, you'll be satisfied. Just don't go trying to look for any deeper meaning; there's isn't really one in this movie. Yeah, we could make some comparisons to immigration or political struggles, but that would really be stretching it.