Monday, 11 March 2013


You wait for ages for an alien invasion movie and then half a dozen along at once. It doesn't seem five minutes since I watched Battleship (see my earlier review) on Sky and now I'm watching Battle Los Angeles with which it has a lot in common.

And, to be fair, there are also a lot of differences. While Battleship dealt with the wider picture to an extent, Battle takes a more intimate approach by following a group of marines on a rescue mission through an L.A. which is being invaded by aliens and that's the plot. Much of it gives the impression of it being shot with a hand-held camera which provides a greater reality and a sense of urgency. The tough female soldier is played by Michelle Rodrigues and not Rihanna though the characters are identical; it's the generic tough female soldier. Aaron Eckhart is good as the sergeant dumped on the platoon at the last minute just when he was about to retire and his new colleagues are well aware that he was only survivor of his previous mission; they're suspicious, he has to prove himself.

That's it really. Lots of fighting, breaks for some characterisation followed by more fighting. As with Battleship, I quite liked it.

And as with Battleship, there's a dumb premise. The aliens haven't come to conquer, they've come to steal our water. Apparently Earth is one of the few planets in our Galaxy that has lots of surface water. Everywhere else, like on the moon Titan, it's locked underground. Now even if this was true, two things suggest themselves to me. Hydrogen and oxygen are two of the most common elements in the universe. It couldn't be that hard for a technologically advanced race to synthesise in the quantities they need. Also with regard to water being locked underground, you would imagine that it must be easier and more economical to mine it rather than invade an inhabited technologically developed planet.

And then there's-
-which has the virtue of at least making sense (mostly).

It's a low budget, single location, murderous monster on the loose. A bunch of people are trapped in a large storage building with what appears to be a face-eating generally munching and mutilating alien on the loose.

Not another one of those, you moan. It's just another slasher in alien drag.

And, yes you are correct. It is indeed another slasher in alien drag. But it's a very good low budget slasher in alien drag. Noel Clarke wrote the story, had a hand in the screenplay and also plays the lead, though it is more of an ensemble piece to a large extent. Our characters converge when Clarke, Clarke's recent ex, and their friends meet at the storage where the ex has gone to collect her stuff just as mysterious explosions are heard and something odd is happening elsewhere in London. Clarke is angry and bitter with his ex and rather irrational about the split and his behaviour rubs the others up the wrong way and for much of the time the film plays out like a psychodrama until survival takes priority and even then it never goes away. The character interplay held me as much as the slowly building tension.

Then, when the few survivors manage to escape there is one last final and logical sting in the tale.

Here it is in white type or as they call it on Aint It Cool News -invisotext.

Outside the storage place, London is being invaded by aliens.

It may be a low budget slasher in alien drag but it has a very good script, good actors, is well shot, and well directed and probably cost about as much as one day's catering on Battle and Battleship.

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