Saturday 24 March 2018

Movies: Battle: Los Angeles **

(12A, general release)

Paul Whitington

Extraterrestrials rarely come bearing gifts, and the aliens in Jonathan Liebesman's Battle: Los Angeles don't even bother to introduce themselves before they commence trashing greater Los Angeles. These space vandals aren't just picking on Hollywood, and their Californian campaign is part of a global assault on all the major cities.

What they're after is water, which powers their ships and sustains their constitutions, and it soon becomes clear that they plan to wipe out humanity to have a free run at our planet.

In their way stand a few solitary units of the United States Marine Corps, and in particular a salty career soldier called Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart). He and a group of untried rookies are sent to a police station in Santa Monica to rescue a stranded group of civilians. But by the time they have got there the city has been overrun by aliens with terrifying weapons and their own pocket air force. In fact, the whole city is about to be abandoned, but Nantz has other ideas and sets out to hit the aliens where it hurts.

Battle: Los Angeles bears a suspicious resemblance to any number of films, but particularly to the Strause brothers' 2010 Los Angeles alien-invasion film, Skyline.

This may have something to do with the fact that the Strauses did the special effects on this film too, and have been accused of robbing the idea.

But whether they did or not hardly matters, because both Skyline and this film are equally dire -- ugly, witless and visually crass productions that are so frenetically directed they're very hard to watch.

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