""‘Battle: Los Angeles' is the number one movie in America,"" buzzes the television screen, transmitting a variety of confusing and heartbreaking sentiments to my brain in an efficient two seconds. If only my experience with this bad joke of a film could be contained to an equally brief time period. Alas …
It was clear to me that ""Battle: Los Angeles"" was going to be a silly movie from its trailer, but I was at least expecting a tolerable romp through a destruction-decorated cityscape, lead by a solid Aaron Eckhart performance.
Instead what I found was a movie that, impressively, managed to signal every single ""this-is-a-bad-movie"" red flag in my face at least once over the course of the film. Let's recap:
Obvious ""in medias res"" introduction:
Nothing says a movie is probably going to be trite and poorly conceived as when the film starts in the middle of an intense battle. Don't be fooled by the editor.
They're not showing you that scene in the beginning to develop a sense of dramatic irony or sympathize characters for the audience. They're tricking you into sitting through a half-hour of blithering exposition about 16 stock characters that will be killed over the next hour instead of walking out of the movie right away like you should.
Michelle Rodriguez in movie:
""Blue Crush."" ""The Fast and the Furious."" ""Resident Evil."" ""Avatar."" ""Machete."" ""S.W.A.T.""
If any of these are your favorite movie of all time, you'll probably really enjoy ""Battle: Los Angeles."" Like all of those movies (and the television show ""Lost""), this film features Rodriguez breaking away from her usual character roles and exploring new ground as a gun-toting, loud-mouthed, hyper-masculine and independent Latina named ""Ramirez,"" ""Cortez,"" or ""Santiago.""
""Awkward Virgin"" stock character:
Nothing like Hollywood telling you that being a virgin makes you a loser, even if you're a Marine defending the Earth from aliens.
Breaks new ground in melodrama:
Laughter is impossible to stifle as Eckhart, mostly channeling a gravely voiced Harvey Dent from the end of ""The Dark Knight,"" turns to his surviving Marines and sternly comments, ""We don't want to be here when those bombs drop!""
It might seem unlikely that such asinine writing would find itself into every bit of dialogue spoken by every character in the movie, but ""Battle: Los Angeles"" defies the improbable time and time again.
Not ""Independence Day"":
The alien autopsy scene, the air battles, the one black character played by a rapper, most of the last half hour; all of these elements are ones shared by this movie and Will Smith's magnum opus ""Independence Day.""
Too bad ""Battle: Los Angeles"" is so poorly conceived, so poorly written, and so poorly put together that any other comparisons between the two films should warrant dismissal from this university.
In short, it wasn't very good at all. Shame on you, America!