You know I'm a sucker for old-fashioned war movies, and in many ways that's exactly what BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is. Sure, it's got nasty aliens invading Earth, but the focus of the film is on one small platoon of Marines sent behind enemy lines to rescue some civilians. All the stereotypes you'd expect are there. You've got the young, inexperienced lieutenant who's in command; the crusty old sergeant who only has a short time left before he retires; assorted young soldiers of various types, including one who's got a grudge against the sarge; even a medic everybody calls Doc. I was a little surprised there wasn't a Marine known as Tex and one called Brooklyn.
But here's the thing (and I'm sure this won't surprise anybody), none of that bothered me a bit. I love this stuff as long as it's played straight and done reasonably well, and BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is. Aaron Eckhart is great as the tough old sarge, and the rest of the cast is good, too, including the beautiful Bridget Moynahan as one of the civilians the squad has to rescue. Also not surprisingly, the mission develops into something bigger and more important, with the fate of the whole world maybe riding on our little band of leathernecks.
I have a few minor complaints. There's entirely too much shaky-cam and quick-cut editing going on, but what're you gonna do? That's modern filmmaking for you. I would have really loved this movie if it had been filmed in a more traditional style, instead of just liking it a lot. I can't gripe too much about the abundance of CGI, either. It's an alien invasion movie. You have to expect that. Overall, I don't think BATTLE: LOS ANGELES is a great movie, but it sure as heck kept me entertained for a couple of hours.
Which bring me to the related subject of alien invasion novels. I haven't read one in a while, and since you're a well-read bunch, tell me . . . What are your favorite alien invasion novels?