Boom. Bang. Kapow. Michelle Rodriguez scowling at the bad guys. Motion sickness-inducing shaky camera work.
That’s pretty much what you can expect from Battle: LA, but I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing. The story goes that some mysterious asteroids are hurtling their way toward the Earth, only they’re not asteroids. They turn out to be alien invaders and it’s up to the military to save the human race. The movie focuses on the battle in Los Angeles (duh), but the violent extraterrestrials are also invading other major cities around the globe.
No, the story isn’t particularly original or compelling (quite unlike The Hurt Locker), but the urban warfare still makes for some great thrills, lots of guns, and buckets of Velveeta (both plot and dialogue can get quite cheesy). One plot hole that irked me, though, was that they entered a tunnel in what appeared to the middle of the night, only to emerge presumably a short while later in broad daylight. Even so, Battle: Los Angeles was a fun diversion that allowed me to shut off my brain for a couple of hours.
For another perspective, I encourage you to read Ray Ebersole’s review of Battle: Los Angeles as well.
It just seems like such a funny premise. You get a bunch of ex-operatives and see what they do when they get a little older. The idea behind Red sounded so promising: retired, (but) extremely dangerous.
I expected to dive right into the action with the retired gang all getting together early in the film, going out to kick some butt and take names. Unfortunately, the whole group doesn’t get together until about two-thirds through the movie and, even then, it’s not exactly Die Hard level action (despite the inclusion of Bruce Willis). For my part, I just wanted to see Helen Mirren wield some big guns. In that regard, Red delivered.
Repo Men (2010)
Speaking of interesting premises, I thought the idea behind Repo Men was quite profound. When you default on your mortgage, the bank takes back your house. When you can no longer make car payments, they take back your Civic. And in the future, when you can’t pay for your replacement organ, they take that back too.
The social satire in Repo Men isn’t quite as “stupid” as what we saw in Idiocracy, but it’s just as possible. We see a future where people buy mechanical replacements for their hearts, kidneys, eyes, and more… and much like today, most people can’t afford these life-prolonging devices. The gruesome visuals of anesthetic-less extraction will sicken some, but it’s more the lack of good execution that leaves me wanting in this movie.
But I do give credit to the premise. It would just be interesting to see how it would have fared in the hands of more capable movie makers.