Battle: Los Angeles Rocks!

March 16th, 2011 | by Sqotty |

I went to see Battle: Los Angeles last night. I had heard very little of the film, in fact I had only recently heard about for the first time. Yesterday I ran across a review of the film by John Nolte over on Big Hollywood and decided that I really should see this film. I am very glad I did. I’ll do my best to not give you any spoilers.

The film is a tense combat film, and reminded me of some of the best military action films of the past several years, including (and especially) Blackhawk Down. This is definitely a Man Movie, with manly men doing manly deeds; no girly-men in this film. It is not just about men doing courageous acts of self-sacrifice, there are two strong female supporting roles, one is Michelle (played by Bridget Moynahan), who is a veterinarian, and the other is Air Force TSgt. Elena Santos (played by Michelle Rodriguez). Michelle adds a touch of compassion to the film, while Santos shows that women can be just as tough and dedicated as their male counterparts when walking through The Valley of Death.

There are several themes running throughout this “alien invasion” war flick. Honor, courage, perseverance are the most obvious. We are also treated to some interesting traditions as the men are of the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines (the 2/5), and the origin of their motto, “Retreat, Hell!” Not being a Marine (I was in the Air Force), I found it interesting to learn that the motto’s origin is from the First World War when a Marine Lieutenant (Lloyd W. Williams), when ordered to retreat, responded, “Retreat? Hell, we just got here!” The lead, Marine SSgt. Nantz (played by Aaron Eckhart) explains the origin to Michelle. We here the motto repeated several times throughout the film, especially when the chips are down for the men of the 2/5.

Battle: LA also has a bit of human conflict as Nantz must cope with rumors amongst the men he is leading that he caused the deaths of the men under his command in Afghanistan, including the brother of one of the men he now leads.

The film is chock full of examples of courage and sacrifice, where the men of the 2/5 must get a group of civilians out from behind enemy lines at any price. There are firefights with the alien invaders throughout the film, and each fight gets tougher than the last. Yet they press on, never faltering, and maintaining the hope that relief is close at hand.

This is a fine film, and one of the few truly pro-military films to come out of Hollywood in recent years. The characters, especially many of the fine supporting roles, are compelling. It is a Man Movie, but has a lot to offer women who like action films as well. For those who remember the movie Independence Day, Battle: Los Angeles is what ID could have, and should have, been. This is a better film than ID, grittier, and more realistic. It is also a fine tribute to our Armed Forces. In short, I loved it!

Closing – I just read Roger Ebert’s review of Battle: Los Angeles and I have to wonder: Did Ebert see the same movie I saw, or did he fall asleep during the coming attractions and didn’t wake up until the end credits began to roll? I am betting it was the latter.

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