Mar 19, 2011

REVIEW: Battle: Los Angeles (dir. Liebesman)

Critics have been bruising shins and elbows in their rush to pour insults on Battle: Los Angeles —"unendurable" said Richard Corliss, "lousy" according to A O Scott, "noisy, violent, ugly and stupid" decided Roger Ebert "an insult to the words 'science' and 'fiction'"— which excessive use of single quotation should be enough to tip you off: it's actually not bad, not as good as Cloverfield perhaps but a good deal better than any of the recent Terminator or Transformer movies, better than those Roland Emmerich disaster flicks, or any of the recent tributes to the public transport system from Tony Scott. The reason is simple: dramatic downsizing. No presidents, no shots of the Eiffel tower on fire, no newscasters or their relationship histories, no winking political allegories or globe trotting damage assessments, just a bunch of marines on a mission, enduring 90 minutes of incoming artillery fire, with occasional breaks to contemplate their own bravery, Aron Eckhart knotting his brow like an Ancient Greek, while Michelle Rodriguez scraps like an alley cat. "Did that hurt?" she asks an alien who has just taken the contents of her shotgun directly to the thorax. I was not bored. And the critics want to give a free pass to The Adjustment Bureau? C+

1 comment:

  1. I agree. That opening epic battle--the only one in the movie--was a mess, but once the (albeit totally ludicrous) downsized mission kicked in, the scenes were more-than-competently shot and edited, creating actual suspense and tension. Though **cough** I did like Adjustment Bureau much better.