Battle: Los Angeles (2011) — Review

MY Rating: 10/10

Pro: Great action scenes, pulls you into the action

Con: Kinda predictable, and full of cliché


Battle:LA is an excellent movie, despite it being predictable and full of cliché. Over-all, I can say it has been well thought and took full advantage of it’s predictability and cliché to deliver an A+ movie.

Battle:LA is most possibly inspired by FPS games, such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Crysis (no, I don’t play FPS games), and some alien invasion/alien occupation movies, such as Independence Day, District 9, and War of The Worlds (all three I’ve seen). What’s unique with Battle:LA is the mix of handheld camera style (or so called “Cloverfield Cam”) and standard industry known steady shots. However, what most people probably hasn’t noticed is that their handheld shake was artificially produced, and not actually generated by moving an actual camera. The shakes were SCRIPTED, or should I say LOOPED. Most of the film was in shaky cam, but not as shaky which was fine, and some of them are in steady camera (normal film style). The unique thing is that Battle:LA did, unlike some other shaky amateur style films, was to cut and change angles when needed which is definitely not like Paranormal Activity or Cloverfield where the camera is continuously rolling, which is certainly causing most of the headaches most people experience. I find their camera angles and unique perspectives and editing to be very superior and pleasing to watch. However, that scripted shake should go away, but that doesn’t bother me from enjoying the movie, It’s just that I noticed it and I simply can’t ignore that fact. Also, each action shots were very well made, the angles, intended shake, and how the editing and cuts were made.

Music and Sound Effects were well played in the movie, and it works well with how the movie was edited. Definitely. It was a one of kind, very realistic and very vividly articulated aspect that I admire the most. The people in-charge of the sound department needs to be given some great credit here. Along with how the movie was edited, the timing and intensity of the sfx were very well done. I can’t tell you how much I think and felt that it was a really good experience. I can’t explain much how it all felt and how things went, but it simply was awesome. Once you get to see and experience the film, you’ll know what I mean. You’ll hear muffled sound, surround sound back noises and all that awesome stuff. I should also note that the LACK OF sound/music was also well played. You know that at certain scene, the lack of music, and just pure actor’s voice and environment gives that very essence that the scene is trying to deliver.

Just like what I said, the editing was well made. There were no awkward shots or cut, everything felt great. No, I don’t think I’m exaggerating here. I know I’ve been praising the film up to this point, but hey, it was really good. The story was kinda predictable. It felt like you knew what would happen, and most of the time IT WILL. Like I said, it was full of cliche, but they took advatage of the cliches and gave you a very unique experience. It was like, they want you to predict it, and want to feed you and make feel like it’s going how you want it to be. Kinda like a “feel-good” strategy. And, that’s not bad and in reality it’s good since it makes you feel good and enjoy the film. Despite the predictability, there are some twists and turns that can make you say “Hey, I didn’t see that coming”… It’s a good mix of predictability and unpredictability that makes it very unique unlike most films I already saw. And, unlike any film I already saw, this film gives you that feeling where at certain points, you ask yourself “Is it done?” and most certainly is still isn’t done, yet. Like I said, a feel good strategy well played. The movie itself will pull you in, without the fancy 3d gimmicks some recent movies are marketing. Even without the strong sense of character development, each main character will be memorable and will atatch itself to you, even some minor ones. And that’s why you know you’ll regret predicting that guy will die. You know that when you predict he’s gonna die, you won’t have any emotional attachment to him, but in this movie’s case, you will.

The films has several mini-stories and sections that build up the main plot (** POSSIBLE SPOILER ** which is very simple: Get into the danger and get out alive ** END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER **) to a very satisfy conclusion. You’d definitely enjoy breaking down each sub-plot and thinking what the hell’s happening.

The actors were remarkably awesome in this film. Great acting and good sense of “I am this character, and this is what’s happening to me”.

However, in the end it’s just another invasion film mixed with war film style of storytelling. Just ignore what critics say about this film and the “so-called” critics… They are just being too critical and ignoring the real point this movie is trying to make… And that is that this films is trying to give a very realistic and critical feel of how a real alien invasion would be… No fancy lasers, no fancy hacking, no fancy unrealistic alien (yes, the aliens look real and very intelligent like us)… I think you know what I mean…. Nothing here is dumbed down… Yes, it’s sci-fi, just without the sci-fi… This is one film any average person would really enjoy, even if they don’t like sci-fi… And if they do, they could probably take a hint that it’s not much sci-fi but more of an action film… Just think of it as another war film, but instead of another country versus another, it’s humans versus aliens who actually think with strategy and with some sort of civilized military way, not just some random “We’re taking over your planet and w’ll gonna effin exterminate you all randomly” way of alien thinking.

Would I watch this movie again? Yep, I would definitely would. Do I think the 10/10 rating was very generous of me? No, I think it deserves the 10/10 rating. Would I recommend this film? Yes, I would. I think everyone should watch it.


** Experience based on me watching this film on a Saturday at a typical movie theater at Toronto, Ontario. Which theater? Silver City (by Cineplex) at Yorkdale Mall, Toronto. The movie was presented in the new AVX theaters by Cineplex. NOPE, NOT 3D. On March 12, 2011

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