When Earth is attacked by an unknown alien species with far superior fire power, all seems lost. Staff Sergeant Nantz has retired but is asked to return to active duty in order to assist a platoon of Marines to rescue a group of civilians who are trapped in a police station in Santa Monica before the military carpet bomb the area. On reaching the civilians, the marines soon find that they themselves are trapped in enemy territory and will have to use all their training in order to escape alive.
Battle Los Angeles (2011) – Director: Jonathan Liebesman
Running Length: 116 mins
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, War
Having a similar premise to many other sci-fi movies relating to an alien invasion of Earth, ‘Battle Los Angeles’ chooses to see the situation from ground level, through the eyes of the people at the front of the fight. Doing things this way and only giving glimpses of the aliens themselves so there is little need for an over abundance of CGI, makes it much more realistic and gives a true sense of warfare. While the marines are clearly the heroes of the movie, there is a real feeling that no amount of training can truly prepare a person for battle. The aliens are never seen to be superior technologically; they use similar weapons and employ similar tactics, making it feel like this could simply be another race who have invaded American shores.
What makes ‘Battle Los Angeles’ an ‘edge of your seat’ movie is the fact that anyone could die at any time. Each battle seems to result in serious injury or death and getting attached to any character is a bad idea as they may not make it to the end. The soundtrack of constant military-style music gets a little tiresome and seems to make the movie (unnecessarily) about patriotism. The brave actions of the marines themselves should be enough to do this rather than forcing the issue with a musical score of military drums. That being said, it is a credit to the writers who have managed to balance the two different genres of war and sci-fi, maintaining the essential elements of both without compromising on quality. ‘Battle Los Angeles’ does take itself a little too seriously, however it is an entertaining movie and is well worth a watch.
IS ‘BATTLE LOS ANGELES’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
‘Battle Los Angeles’ is a movie for adults and therefore a lot of the content is likely to be inappropriate for kids. We highlight the most extreme parts below in order for you to make an informed decision about the rest of the film.
There is a lot of bad language throughout the movie. This is mostly moderate cursing in the heat of battle, however frequent mild and moderate cursing and blasphemy is used constantly; one strong word is used at a pivotal moment.
As might be expected, there is a lot of realistic violence during the action scenes which are always intense. Many of the marines are killed or suffer major injuries like terrible burns to the head. The aliens’ fire power is very similar to gunfire and therefore several characters are shot. One of the marines is separated from the rest of the platoon and hides in a laundry room. He is terrified, hears strange noises and can see shadows of the aliens moving across the windows. On leaving the room, he walks slowly away from the house and is shaking the whole time. This is a very tense scene and lasts several minutes until it climaxes with the marine being attacked. As well as the on-screen violence, when the marines walk around the streets, they see several bodies strewn over the ground and come across the body of a woman in a car. In a graphic shot which lasts a few seconds, she is seen close up with red and black burns all over her face and body.
At one point, the marines manage to capture an alien that appears to be dying. They decide to try to find its weaknesses in order to find the best way of killing the others. They then begin to pull at it and expose its organs to attack them. While this could have been gory, the alien looks completely different on the inside to humans and does not appear to suffer, therefore making this scene very factual and it doesn’t become distressing.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘Battle Los Angeles’ is an adults movie with a very serious theme of warfare. The fact that so many established characters are killed is likely to make it distressing for children as all of the marines are likeable and friendly towards each other. We would not recommend this movie to under 12’s and would advise caution for those who are sensitive to intense action scenes.
- Violence: 5/5 (the violence in this movie is the strongest that is likely to be seen from a ‘12’ rated movie)
- Emotional Distress: 4/5 (one of the marines visits the grave of his brother, the accompanying music makes this scene a little emotional. When one character dies, another character who cares for him tells him to ‘wake up’ and says ‘don’t leave me’. When it is revealed what has happened in Nantz’s past, his response to a fellow marine is very moving. One character sacrifices himself in order to save the rest of the platoon)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (all of the action sequences are intense)
- Sexual Content: 0/5
- Bad Language: 5/5
- Dialogue: 3/5 (one character is seen putting their dog tags in their shoe and another explains that this is so his body can be identified if his head is blown off)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of loyalty, friendship, fighting for what is right when the odds are against you, protecting the innocent and sacrificing yourself for the good of others.
- STROBE WARNING: Please note that in one scene the marines watch a news programme on the TV; the flickering of the screen has the effect of flashing/strobe lighting.
Words by Laura Record