Grae's Rating:

3.5

Enlist me, baby.

Who's In It: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Michael Pena, Ramon Rodriguez, Ne-Yo

The Basics: Los Angeles, the obvious cultural center of the Western hemisphere, is once again under attack--but this time, it's not by wildfires, earthquakes, or random, Roland Emmerich-created tornadoes. Now, L.A. is threatened by extra-terrestrials, and they mean business. They're not here to reason with us or check out that excellent gelato place in Silverlake--they are here to wipe out humans and take our water. Yes that's right. Angelenos are going to die for their Brita filters. And Aaron Eckhart is just the Marine to stop them.

What's The Deal: This is not your garden-variety, wisecracking hero-charms-the-pants-off-the-enemy, cutesy-wutesy action flick. This is a garden-variety war movie and the enemy is from another planet. It's more Hurt Locker than Independence Day. From beginning to end, this thing just keeps jackhammering at your nerves. Sure, there are a few moments of comic relief, both intended and not (Aaron Eckhart imploring a kid to be a "little Marine" is priceless), but mostly this film assaults you worse than the LAPD on a traffic stop in Watts. My heart rate was so high during the film, it took care of my cardio for the day. Totally fun, totally ridiculous, totally insane.

Thank You For Smoking: Aaron Eckhart is spectacular in the role of Staff Sgt. Nance. He's a misunderstood, stoic Marine who makes the tough decisions and keeps on hoo-rah'ing through it all. It doesn't matter whether he's stabbing an alien repeatedly in the chest, reassuring his Lieutenant, or tying a child's shoelace--the man is all class. We've seen the role of "tough-as-nails on the outside, soft and squishy on the inside" guy. Eckhart makes it look effortless here and brought back memories of heroes long gone by. He even told a kid that it was okay to cry. Hoorah, indeed.

Attack Of The Hand-Held Camera: Contributing to the claustrophobic feeling was the abundance of hand-held close-ups. Ever since Bourne Identity, audiences have been squinting their way through tightly framed action scenes in film, and this movie really took that to another level. Was it effective? Absolutely. I got the feeling this is truly what combat is like. However, I found myself wishing, as I often do, that I got to actually see a little bit more of what was happening.

Chasing The Dragon: As I was watching the film, I was thinking about how over-stimulated our society is. We keep having to continuously top ourselves in order to get a rush. We can no longer be impressed over something as simple as seeing a moving picture of a train entering the station--now we need one hour and 56 minutes of completely berserk explosions, gunfire, and car crashes in order to feel anything at all. Between Bridget Moynahan making veterinarian jokes and alien ships blowing out car windows, I caught myself thinking that Battle: Los Angeles is one of the signs that our culture is heading towards a Roman-esque downfall. They eventually hit their ceiling too.

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Comments (19)

Dave - 3-14-2011 4:49 PM
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Thank You Grae, I can't believe the other guy saw the same movie we saw. Now I wonder if he really saw SyFy's Battle of Los Angeles and Not "Battle: Los Angeles." You've restored my faith in critics. What should be said is this is what SKYLINE should have been at least as the trailers portrayed. This movie gave more than what the trailer gave.

Chris - 3-15-2011 7:28 AM
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While watching this movie you perceived the ruin of America because you believe the film a byproduct of the attitudes that will destroy us? You then wrote a review where you talk about how awesome the movie is and gave it 3.5 stars? 1. Hypocritical? 2. I am impressed by a train pulling into a station. My emotions are not washed out or withering. I don't need 10 shots of Jager (so to speak) just to get a buzz. Your philosophizing would have been fine had you said "it seems a majority of our society...," but by generalizing and saying "we" (are all like this) you're lying and wrong. I know this reads harsh, sorry, but I mean it as constructive criticism.

Spider - 3-15-2011 11:56 AM
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Nice review Grae! I finally found a critc whom I agree with 100%, especially the "Chasing the Dragon" paragraph about our society being over-stimulated. I sure believe it.

Daves Better - 3-16-2011 10:49 AM
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Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I'm sorry, this movie was just bad. I can't even begin to go over the specifics of what was terrible about that movie, because I could probably write an eleven page thesis, but unfortunately only have 280 characters left. Yeah, the special effects weren't bad and lots of things went boom boom (not quite heart pounding though, if that's all it takes to get your cardio for the day, I'd seek out a personal trainer), but the real problem was the script and it's a shame you didn't make any mention of the various problems including lack of character development (you know, so we CARE if someone dies), clunky dialogue, GAPING plot holes, and no real insight into the aliens invading.

Paul - 3-17-2011 4:40 PM
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I would bring it to your attention, Grae, that "Bourne Identity" did not implement the frenzied, hand-held action camerawork; Doug Liman directed "Identity", it was Paul Greengrass (director of "Supremacy" and "Ultimatum") that instituted this frenetic shooting style. Nowadays, it's kind of the cliche, go-to style for action films.

Pete - 3-17-2011 9:46 PM
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You thought this movie was sensory overload? Just wait until Sucker Punch comes out!! I was pleasantly surprised, though not impressed with this movie. I know it could never hold up to the *incredible* original trailer that it came out with, but it did manage to capture the fear and chaos of such an invasion better than any other alien movie I've seen.

Reggie - 3-18-2011 8:02 PM
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Listen. Why are you negative reviewers so caught up.on.the. little things? The movie was good it kept me entertained for an hour and a half. Aw you didn't cry for everyone that died get over it. And to the critique that we didn't learn enough about the aliens is stupid we knew exactly what they knew.which I believed involved the viewer in the fight. All in all I really liked this movie, and I don't think it deserves the reviews its gotten.

Aim - 3-19-2011 6:50 PM
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Just saw it and did not like it, too much gunfire all the time, the whole movie, I mean hello? no imagination there... but what can I say? no sci-fi movie will ever top Independence Day, which was the greatest of all times

Aim - 3-19-2011 6:50 PM
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Just saw it and did not like it, too much gunfire all the time, the whole movie, I mean hello? no imagination there... but what can I say? no sci-fi movie will ever top Independence Day, which was the greatest of all times

Rob - 3-22-2011 5:59 AM
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Man I don't get either of you. I truly think neither of you should review movies anymore. This movie sucked. Completely unoriginal by all accounts. War of worlds or even God damn independence day had the same freakin plot. Poor special effects really made this movie tank. Supposed to be action packed and yet quite boring with the most predictable ending ever. Hell they literally did that ending in both movies I mentioned. Give me a break. Another terrible movie given a good review by people who clearly never leave the house and are easily impressed.

Boss - 3-23-2011 4:02 AM
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All the people bagging this movie are retards. Why? It's a war movie with Sci-Fi elements. It's about the USMC fighting an agressive and more brutal force. It's not about soul searching, love or all that mushy mushy Bullshit. Personally, I'm glad the military finally got a movie in the last 5 years that isn't talking bad and saying a bunch of BS. That means you avatar. I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole film and saw it with 5 of my best friends. 4/5 of us loved it so much we plan to watch it again. It's raw it's gritty, it's a battle. The acting was solid, the characters were relatable. If you've ever been the guy who screwed up and could've gotten people killed you would understand the crushing guilt Nantz

Santiago Matamoros - 8-07-2011 3:16 AM
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The film's makers nailed pre-emptively all the metrosexuals bashing their work: They don't know John Wayne. Yes, some of the lines were a bit much, and there was only enough character development to support the purpose of the film, but this wasn't an effeminate coming-of-age story, this was a good, old-fashioned, all-American-heroes-save-the-day kind of movie. Those who despise this film also probably disliked 300, just like those Athenian boy-lovers. Is it any wonder the aliens think we're ripe for invasion?

tphg - 11-12-2011 12:13 AM
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I hated 200 but loved this. I agree with Boss on all accounts. When they first escaped the aliens clutches and Nantz decided to go take out the command center, I panicked that the movie would end there. Happiness! Joy! Another fifteen minutes remained. I kept thinking to myself, while on the edge of my seat, that this movie is like the history of the space marine. In this flick we beat them back. In another we kick them off the planet. In the third, we chase them back to their homeworld. I need to go play some halo or something!

Leonor - 7-28-2013 6:48 PM
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C'est clair, l'attente est toujours trop lngoue!!! Et surtout, quel beau mois d'avril, avec Sucker Punch, World Invasion Battle Los Angeles, puis Thor !! avec un petit Rio au passage, tout e7a m'en fait saliver e0 l'avance! vite vite !!

Maira - 7-29-2013 8:10 PM
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I may be mistaken, but I thoguht one of the major provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act, being phased in through 2014, was elimination of the pre-exiting condition clause. I would also note that the limits on outpatient and inpatient days you mention are rather generous compared to some health care plans and are a problem for basically any mental illness diagnosis. however, i agree with you in spirit and in general and wish you the best.

Menao - 7-30-2013 12:15 AM
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Marina - 7-30-2013 10:55 PM
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J'ai vrmaneit mais vrmaneit he2te de voir ce film! Le trailer est une vraie bombe qui est vrmaneit e9norme! Pfbrement e9norme! J'attend ce film avec impatience, rho, dur de patienter! encore 2 petits moi de patience! Aller ! Courage!

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