It’s an intractable law of the cosmos; being that for every massively hyped blockbuster, some low rent studio will crank out a hideous product in hopes of riding the coattails of a hit to some success. So it’s probably of little surprise somebody would insert an “of” in “Battle:Los Angeles”, trying to convince viewers their film’s as good as the theatrical film. It’s not.
It doesn’t make things any better that “Battle of Los Angeles” came from Asylum Studios, a place fast becoming the Merchant Ivory producers of movies so bad they would’ve made Ed Wood Jr quit filmmaking and consider a career in used cars. Probably the biggest rub is how much this film was done on the cheap; cheap as in they probably had probably had production assistants panhandling to get cash to finish the film. Shot on the Asylum Studios lot in L.A. on a $300,000 budget, it’s safe to say this “Battle” was lost a long time ago.
Script and direction is credited to Mark Atkins, previously a former cinematographer and editor making his helming debut. So it can be forgiven, to a degree, the terrible pacing and endless reaction shots that haunt the film like one of the ghosts of Gettysburg. Atkins does handle the camera duties as well, so at least the film looks halfway decent.
As for Atkins the writer, he leaves a lot to be desired. It’s like he couldn’t decide what film to rip off, so he just ripped everything off. “Tomb Raider”, “Independence Day”, “The X Files”, “War of the Worlds”, pretty much every sci-fi film made in the past twenty years gets a chunk torn out and surtured in here. There are occasional clever touches, like the aliens using our tech against us or a captive alien craving Reese’s Pieces. But they’re so few an far between, in the end it doesn’t matter.
As for the acting, the cast consist of unknowns trying their best with nothing to work with. Former model/occasional actress Nia Peeples handles her Lara Croft-esque role fairly well. Not many actresses can pilot an F-16 and kill aliens with a katana, but she pulls it off with aplomb and manages to play her part seriously. Everyone else struggles with substandard material, making they truly deserving of some medal of valor. Music by Brian Ralston and Kays Al-Atracki is fairly good, enough to make you wish they’d release a soundtrack.
What’s worse is the CGI, which is so laughably bad it’s a wonder it was even included. Bad enough when the alien ships look fake, but when you can’t realistically render an F-16 fighter, that’s just pathetic. Shame on Joseph Lawson, Robert Tobin, and Mark Kochinski…you guys should’ve known better.
It’s safe to say “Battle of Los Angeles” is a rather terrible film. It’s the type of film police show to hardened criminals when they want to break then psychologically and elicit a confession. There’s a few bright spots, but none worth renting it, much less watching it for free. Raise the white flag, because after an hour of this film the audience will be begging to surrender.
Mark Atkins (director) / Mark Atkins (screenplay)
CAST: Kel Mitchell … Lt. Tyler Laughlin
Nia Peeples … Karla
Dylan Vox … Lt. Pete Rodgers
Gerald Webb … Lt. Jeffery Newman
Theresa June Tao … Solano
Tim Abell … Colonel