Huey's Manly Movie #5: Battle: Los Angeles
Major Manly Stars: Aaron "Kurt Douglas doesn't have a patent on a manly butt chin" Eckhart, Jim "hey! I'm on true blood" Parrack, Michelle "I always play the tough girl" Rodriguez,
Manly Themes: Fighting, Marines, killing Aliens, stuff blowing up
Plot: World coming to an end thanks to aliens? No worry, the USMC is here to help!
As you can see from the trailer the cinematography on the film is really good. Even though some scenes are clearly CGI you don't get distracted too much by it with the human element of the film being played out.
Fairly decent portrayal of Marines I think in this movie, although just as with a lot of similar movies too few people are depicted doing way too much of the work....I know, its fiction. The film even uses more or less accurate uniforms and equipment. At first I thought they missed the mark on the helmet and that the Marines were shown using the old PASGT Kevlar ("fritz", "K-Pot") helmets...but apparently the marines kept the overall design of the K-pot and updated its construction and harness system, unlike the Army which designed an entirely new helmet. Weapons (generally AR's with M64 optics) are correct and there is are realistic reloading sequences. Another nice touch is that the featured unit, 2nd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment is located at Camp Pendleton and the other Army unit mentioned, the 40th Division, is a unit of the California National Guard...both are geographically correct for the region depicted in the movie.
General plot line, a swarm of objects are seen headed towards the earth but slow down before they hit it and splash into the ocean...alien cyborg things emerge and start to lay waste to everything in their path. Aaron Eckhart portrays a soon-to-be-retired Staff Sergeant who suddenly finds himself tasked with leading a platoon/large squad of Marines into a battle with an unknown adversary. They soon advance through smoke and find themselves engaging bi-pedal alien fighters in a race to rescue civilians trapped at a LA Police station. On thing I thought was cool was the aliens, while shown being bigger, stronger, faster and more agile than humans, still relied on projectile weapons for their main armament. Unlike Independence Day, there are no ray guns or other such weaponry that we cannot match, although they do have many technological advances in the end its just a good 'ol shooting match. They eventually find a wounded alien and in a somewhat gruesome scene tear into it with their hands and knives trying to find out how to kill it as most of their rounds seem to impact them with little effect.
OK, for the most part the film is "realistic" for a sci-fi fantasy flick of this nature. There is the obligatory scene of self sacrifice by one of the Marines to save his troops, the death of fellow Marines to make the hardest hard core veteran shed a tear, the "dark secret" harbored by Eckhart that comes out in the storyline via another Marines attitude and some over the top action. All of this is taken well and good up until the point that they finally save (most of) the civilian and are on there way home in a chopper when they notice a blacked out area...I know what I would be thinking...Mother Ship! Yeah! Anyway, Michelle Rodriguez has been along for the ride throughout most of the movie so far as an Air Force Intel specialist (in the field with a rifle and knows how to use it?) that for some reason has hidden the fact that her mission was to find a weakness in the enemy and order an airstrike? Really, she kept that a secret from Marines fighting the aliens? Well, I guess if she said that right up front that may have taken priority over rescuing the civilians and thrown the plot off course. Anyway, the group goes out, finds the mother ship, targets it with a laser and shoots its with a AT4 from hell/on steroids and eventually another Air Force missle flies in from somewhere and takes the mother ship out...making all the flying alien craft crash and the Marines advance on line shooting at retreating aliens...hell yes...
Then the Marines go back to digging holes and running into walls at Camp Pendleton...The End.