Click here to return to the main site.

Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Battle: Los Angeles


Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramón Rodríguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo and Michael Peña
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 12
Available 11 July 2011

In August of 2011, a number of objects fall from the sky, next to several major cities. In each case the objects falls into the surrounding seas. In L.A. not only are the objects spotted, but Hubble picture shows machines lurking in the heart of each meteorite. Each landing brings with it an unstoppable number of alien invaders who destroy everything in their path. Unable to stem the initial attack Sgt. Michael Nantz, is ordered to take his untried men and attempt a rescue, it is a rescue which will see them travelling to hell and back...

Battle: Los Angeles (2011 - 1 hr, 56 min, 10 sec) is a military science fiction film directed by Jonathan Liebesman, from a Chris Bertolini script. Americans like to destroy their cities for our entertainment and don’t we just love it.

On its initial release the film was pretty much critically savaged, which on a second viewing seems quite unfair. I’ve said before films seek to perform different functions and it is fair to say that there is little that is deep here, but what you do get is a rip roaring ride, with masses of special effects and a lot of bangs for your buck.

The story, such as it is, tries to view what an alien invasion would feel like from the ground soldiers point of view. Think Black Hawk Down with mushroom heads. You can forget about the film working on any emotional level as the characters are neither well draw, nor are we given either time or information to build any form of empathy with them. But who cares, we just want to see them blowing the sh*t out of stuff.

Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is a sergeant who left a man behind when he was serving in Iraq - cue the man who will redeem himself - who as luck would have it has been placed in the same company as the lost soldier's brother - well you can’t say the army doesn’t have a sick sense of humour. The platoon is led by a novice officer William Martinez (Ramón Rodríguez), who might as well have been wearing a red shirt as we all know, within thirty second of meeting him, that he will meet a heroic ending. The rest of the squad is made up of army stereotypes, including the balls hard Latino female soldier Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez), who seems to have cornered the market for this particular type of character.

The group battle their way into L.A. and back out again. Obviously, as they are the heroes, they are the only ones who work out how to defeat the aliens - handy that.

For all the lack of originality in the script and characters, the picture looks spectacular, with over eight hundred special effects shots and on the Blu-ray every fine detail is brought out. With such a rich environment on display, I’d even forgive the director's occasional foray into shaky camera to give the film a more visually real feel, which is of course absurd when dealing with aliens with heads the shape of mushrooms.

So the disc obviously comes with the film and a number of ways to play it. You can watch with Movie IQ turned on, which is an online database which gives you info on the film as you watch. You can also watch the film with the Command Control, which produced scene specific pop ups from the extras.

Behind The Battle (6 min, 44 sec) is a bunch of behind the scenes pieces with contributions from cast and crew. Directing The Battle (6 min, 33 sec) is a piece with Jonathan Liebesman about how he got the job and his approach to the film. It’s a short piece, so don’t expect too much depth.

Aliens in L.A. (17 min, 57 sec) looks at what the film makers were trying to achieve, with the film, to make the aliens look menacing - well they failed pretty much there. Preparing for Battle (5 min, 15 sec) looks at the physicality of acting in all that equipment whilst spending much of the film running around. Boot Camp (10 min, 18 sec) and the actors get sent off to train to be real soldiers. Creating L.A. in L.A. (5 min, 46 sec) takes a look at how they recreated Los Angeles in Louisiana. The Freeway Battle (5 min, 18 sec) shows how they created one of the central battles of the film. Apart from that you get a few trailers. In the end although the extras look numerically impressive they are mostly short in length and shallow on depth.

The picture looks great on a high def television, audio is English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and it’s well worth turning up to a level which will annoy the neighbours. There is also an English descriptive track and, oddly, only a single Thai audio track, so ya-boo-sucks to our European friends, you’ll have to watch the film in English unless your Thai is particularly good. There are subtitles for English, Thai Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Greek, anyone else get the feeling that this print should have been destined for the Far East?

So, in the end, yes it is a stupid film with wafer thin characters, but it’s also a whole lot of destructive fun. The extras suck a bit, but this is made up for with both the excellent print and kill-your-granny audio track.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£13.00 (
£13.99 (
£15.99 (
£16.97 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.