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Battle: Los Angeles (Blu-ray Review)

Much like my Blu-ray review of last year’s Burlesque (see here), I know I’m going to get bashed here.  For some reason, the critics didn’t receive Battle: Los Angeles too well.  Well la deed da.  What the f#$k do they know?  I guess they are all dead inside and truly don’t know how to have a good time by letting go and escaping reality for a little bit.  This movie never claimed to be another Platoon or Saving Private Ryan, but instead it sought out to do just what 1996’s Independence Day did, captivate and entertain audiences with its non-stop alien warfare and adrenalized action.  On those levels, I believe very much that it succeeded. Battle: Los Angeles has been one of my most anticipated film this year ever since I saw the panel at last year’s Comic-Con (see here).  Is that hardcore or what?  Ha ha.  I really don’t care if you think it’s hardcore or not.  That’s just filler to make this first paragraph longer so it looks good on the web page.

Film  

Battle: Los Angeles is a science action film directed by Jonathan Liebesman and stars Aaron Eckhart, Michael Pena, Ne-Yo and two of my favorite sirens, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan.  Eat your heart out Sean (over Rodriguez)!  Strangely enough, I read that the film’s events were actually inspired by a falsely suspected air raid of LA during World War II to give it an authentic feel.  I guess I can buy that.  Hell, who cares really?  Are any of us that are reading this old enough to remember World War II anyway?

No time is wasted in dumping us into the heart of the action right from the get go.  Things slow down a bit after the film’s introduction to bring us up to speed on how the world suddenly fell under attack from hostile alien invaders, but other than that, Battle: Los Angeles is a non-stop action vehicle.  Make sure you buckle up.  And if you can’t have fun with this one, there’s something wrong with you.  Where’s your sense of adventure?  Oh you found it?  Great!  Let’s move on.

Battle: LA focuses on a platoon of Marines assigned to rescue civilians from a police station after a series of meteorites are reported to have rocked the West Coast and other regions of the world.  Meteorites my a$$.  Those are MF aliens!  LOL!   The platoon is given a three-hour window to rescue the stranded civilians before a planned airstrike will level and destroy the entire area in hopes of containing the hostile situation.  It’s on this rescue mission that these soldiers will face an enemy like none other they have ever encountered before.  And thinking back, I think that statement is a pretty fair representation of the alien invaders, but more on that later.

I can go on and on and tell you why I loved this film and write until my carpal tunnel flares to the point of no return in order to convince you not to listen to these big time critics trash this film.  They just don’t know how to have a good time.  Obviously!   If I had to I summarize Battle: LA in seven words or less I would state the obvious.  It’s Black Hawk Down meets Independence Day.  But wait!  I know when you hear the word Independence Day your mind instantly drifts to cheap thoughts.  Hold it right there!  Don’t you remember how visually stunning Independence Day was back in the days?  Come on!  Don’t trash a movie you haven’t seen yet (i.e. Burlesque). Quite honestly, I feel as giddy writing this as the hot summer day I experienced Independence Day theatrically.  It’s a wonder they didn’t save this action flick for a theatrical summer release.

Here’s what Battle does right.  It’s not a cheap action movie with a ridiculous script and wooden actors.  It has heart and it has soul.  And best of all, it’s a war film!  It was shot like a war film, documentary style.  Picture yourself playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, but battling rogue alien forces in the jungle that will stop at nothing until they kill you all.  Now picture that jungle as the streets of LA and you’re in the heat of the action as the war is not fought on a battlefield, but amongst homes and stores you frequent daily.  This is modern warfare, but AMPED!  Remember the sense of comradeship and pride you had when watching Black Hawk Down?  Well, that’s all here too!  The human race is being exterminated folks.  This is no laughing matter.  You want to know what it’s like being part of a Marine platoon smack dab in the middle of a combat, then look no further than here.  And what’s most surprising is Liebesman accomplished all of this with a PG-13 rating.  That’s simply A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Let’s not forget those pesky aliens either.  Unlike other movies where the aliens just come down and attack like mindless zombies, these aliens have a rhyme and reason for everything they do.  They have leaders and officers in their armies just like we do.  And they have some of the most sophisticated weaponry and vehicles ever seen.  In other words, these aliens are hell bent on wiping us out with a purpose/endgame in mind.  Yep, that’s right.  There’s a reason they are here.  How many alien invasion movies have you ever seen in your life where there is truly no explanation as to why they are so eager to exterminate us?  I know I have seen my quota of those films.  Well, not here.  They are here for a reason and I won’t spoil anything more.

Now with all that being said, what I like most about the film, and have hinted about it earlier, is the overall sense of realism and comradeship on display here between the soldiers.  Everything just felt authentic like I was smack, dab in the middle of it.  Whether real marine life is like what I saw on the big screen or not, my suspension of disbelief was as tight as a rubber band throughout the film’s runtime the first time I saw this. When I saw this on the big screen, moviegoers mourned the loss of onscreen characters nearby.  I heard crying.  I heard cheers.  It was a roller coaster ride that I did not want to get off and the experience only gets better on Blu-ray, folks.  Sure, Aaron Eckhart delivered a few awkward speeches here or there, but I never felt more patriotic this year than I did watching this small band of soldiers singlehandedly make a difference in the city of Los Angeles.  This is what dreams are made of.  They are the real dream team.  You hear that Lebron?  You are NOTHING.  You’re the one who still has to wake up to that miserable life of yours.

Video  

I’m not going to make the same mistake here as I did with my criticism of WB’s Three Kings.  Let’s get one thing straight; the ONLY reason why Battle: Los Angeles is not getting the 5-star treatment in the video department is because of its intentional mute and drab color palette.  You understand that word “intentional,” folks?  It means it was meant to look this way.  Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings this action flick to the Blu-ray format with a razor sharp AVC MPEG-4 video codec, presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  The 1080p transfer is as intense as the onscreen battles are.  Sony spared nothing in delivering us the finest presentation of the film for the complete Blu-ray experience.  Inky black levels co-exist harmoniously throughout the feature with a thin layer of cinematic grain leveling out the viewing experience.  Prepare for war!  This presentation brings it!  From the glowing orange fireballs to the darkened interiors, this presentation kicks some serious Blu-ray a$$ as it takes no prisoners.  As the rock band Kiss always says, you wanted the best, you got the best.

Audio  

What could be better than an a$$-kicking lossless surround track to accompany the near reference video presentation?  I know…absolutely nothing.  Sony delivers a 1-2-3 series of punches and jabs here as it pile drives home a reference quality audio experience in your viewing room of choice.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track will level the playing field with its ferocious lows, its beefy highs and fiery explosions that I promise you, will go off all around you.  Strap yourselves in, folks.  This is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride.  And fo sho…that’s a good thing!  From the always impeccable dialog levels to the gunshots that zing all around you, the full HD Blu-ray experience can be found here.  Like Black Hawk Down did in past years, Battle: Los Angeles raises and sets the bar on how war/action movies should sound on the format of choice…Blu-ray!  Enough said!

Special Features  

All you need to know about here is the fact that all of the Special Features are brought to you with love and care in glorious 1080p.  Yeah baby!  Alright, I’m sure there are a minority of folks out there who can care less about the resolution, but rather about the quality and quantity of all the Special Features so I will tell you what I’m going to do.  Just for those people I am going to breakdown everything you can expect to find here in this department on the Blu-ray disc of the hour, Battle: Los Angeles.  Ready?

  • Command Control – This picture-in-picture BonusView extra allows you to view storyboard comparisons, behind-the-scenes footage, interview clips, the making of certain scenes, the actor’s military training, special mini-featurettes called “Battle Points” and much more.  The “Battle Points” featurettes can also be viewed separately through the disc’s main menu.  Not too shabby!
  • Behind the Battle (HD, 6:44) – The cast and crew discuss the premise of the film and how it’s shot in documentary style.
  • Preparing for Battle (HD, 5:15) – This one takes a look at the actor’s “preparation” for their physical and demanding roles.
  • Boot Camp (HD, 10:18) – The cast and crew discuss the military boot camp they endured to add authenticity to their performances.  I like this one!  Go Michelle!
  • Aliens in L.A. (HD, 17:57) This one takes us in for a closer look at the design of the alien invaders.
  • Directing the Battle (HD, 6:33) – I liked this one.  This one gives us an inside look at the presentations Director Jonathan Liebesman created to secure the directing job on the film.  A MUST-SEE for aspiring filmmakers!
  • Creating L.A. in LA (HD, 5:45) – Are you confused by the title of this one?  Don’t worry.  It’s pretty easy to explain.  This one shows us how certain Louisiana locations were replicated to look like Los Angeles.
  • The Freeway Battle (HD, 5:18) – Do you want to go behind-the-scenes on one of the film’s most crucial battle sequences?  Well if so, then you’ll get served here.  Enjoy!
  • Previews (HD) – Enjoy some previews of a few other Sony movie titles here.  Duh!  What did you think you were going to find here?
  • Battle: Los Angeles PS3 Wallpaper – I think you know what this one is.
  • MovieIQ
  • BD-Live
  • Resistance 3 Playable Demo – If you are one of the owners of the single Blu-ray disc set only, then you are in luck.  Enjoy a playable demo of the hotly anticipated PS3 title Resistance 3.

Final Thoughts  

Battle: Los Angeles is a mixed bag of goods no matter how you look at it.  For some, the film was a critical flop.  For others, like some of my friends and I, we got lost in the non-stop military action and immensely enjoyed every minute of the movie’s runtime.  Whatever your take on the film is, there’s no denying the Blu-ray shines (doesn’t sparkle because it’s not Twilight) with its superb, near-reference quality video presentation, the bombastic (this time around “reference” quality) 5.1 surround audio track and a pretty impressive caviar of special features.  What more do you want?  Don’t answer that!  Just click here or below to order Battle: Los Angeles on Blu-ray today.  Hurry!  Father’s Day is almost upon us.  Operators are standing by.  This review will self-destruct in T minus 10 seconds.  Run!

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

8 Responses to “Battle: Los Angeles (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gregg

    Fun flick! Definitely better than Green Lantern. I’m glad to see the audio kicked butt. That is crucial to this film’s maximum enjoyment at home…or any war film for that matter.

  2. Aaron Neuwirth

    So I gave this film a passing grade because I had some fun, but the difference I found between this film and Independence Day is that I watch Independence Day a lot, because it’s maintained it’s entertainment value. Battle LA came out in March and I barely remember anything that happened.

  3. Gerard Iribe

    I’ll rent this.

  4. Brian White

    There’s a doctor who can probably help you with that condition, Aaron. I’m just saying.

  5. Gregg

    He does make a valid point though. After a year or two for me, I will likely forget a lot of what happened here. Independence Day rocked the house (or in the case of the movie’s footage, just blew it apart).

  6. Brian White

    I made an appointment for the both of you next Monday morning at 9am at the Cleveland Clinic.

    Memory loss this early in life is no laughing matter.

  7. Aaron Neuwirth

    I didn’t like Drive Angry, but I remember everything about it.

  8. Gerard Iribe

    Yeah, so audio was reference, but the movie blew. Kind of funny for a really advanced alien race their infantry also used artillery shells.

    The hell?