It seems that Hollywood still hasn't finished with L.A. Or should that be trying to finish L.A.?
The city, along with New York, is always ripe for the taking and here we see, well, exactly what we've seen before really. Director Jonathan Liebesman has taken what the "Skyline" and "Monsters" trailers promised and didn't deliver and tried to please everyone that he can. However, in trying to do so, he ends up pleasing no one.
His mesh of so many well-trodden cliches becomes unengaging and wearily familiar - the jaded Marine who's getting out for good then the call-to-arms is issued (should have learnt from Danny Glover's Murtough!), the wet-behind-the-ears commander who's never seen battle and freezes when required to lead... there's even a grunt who's about to be married (but not an RAF pilot who has "one more flight" before the big day this time round luckily!) Heck, they even get to squeeze in the obligatory "Disaster Movie Dog."
Eckhart genuinely seems embarrassed by his dialogue but at least he doesn't get the "maybe I can help? I'm a veterinarian," line when it comes to figuring out how to kill the nasty aliens. And that line is NOT delivered tongue-in-cheek, which is part of the problem. All up on the screen is straight-laced and "Private Ryan"-like hand-held camera work to make it feel real and fact-based. But when you're mimicking the likes of "Independence Day" you should respect and serve up the cheese.
Coming across as the story that would have been if they did "Cloverfield" from the perspective of the military rather than the civilians, "Battle: L.A." is a prime example of a join-the-dots movie where no surprises delight in this predictable, effects-driven film. So average it's disappointing.
UK release date: 11/03/11