Independence Day" and other such "us against them" sorts of stories. "They" come with force, and they're horrible and implacable and ruthless, but we're noble and honorable and determined, even as we struggle with our usual junk.
Sure, lots of shooting and lots of explosions, and familiar LA landmarks coming under alien fire.
Okay, that said, I totally enjoyed "Battle: LA."
It's entertaining, with great visuals, fun acting, a story laced with some of the profound questions that color the human drama, and fun for folks who know LA ... familiar with streets like Lincoln and Olympic and landmarks like the Santa Monica Airport and the LA skyline.
Filmed in La, though, sort of dampens the effect, but so it goes. It's a story about LA, and as the general says, "We can't afford to lose LA," and that makes sense no matter what.
I enjoyed Aaron Eckhart as "Staff Sargent," with his Marine-like chiseled face, a man tormented by survivor's syndrome, trying to survive his own inner demons. Having lost men in a previous deployment, he's ready to leave the Maines, submits the paperwork to resign, but this sudden emergency puts all of that on delay.
He's called into action with a Lieutenant fresh out of school, a team-member resentful of his leadership, a big-mouth who's more noise than substance, a tough woman, a loving father, some frightened children, and always the alien soldier who may be just as scared of us, as we are of them, yet with a vastly superior technology.
Throughout the course of operations, some big thoughts:
- Loyalty to the team.
- Courage in the face of fire.
- Forgiveness - the surviving brother of a man lost under Staff Sargent's tour of duty is serving under his command here at Camp Pendleton.
- A father's love for his son.
- The reality of death.
- The power of persistance.
Michelle Rodriguez is a familiar face and voice playing a role reminiscent of her fine role in "Avatar." She brings a fine blend of Latino toughness and smoldering sultriness that says, "Look, but don't touch."
In the end, well, we still don't know how it's going to end. If this were the mid-50s, a story like this would be a great Saturday afternoon serial.
Absolutely, and see it in a theater, big screen.
Pay attention to the big questions, grab a bag of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the action.