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By Wilson Morales

We’ve seen enough war films (‘Black Hawk Down,’ ‘Saving Private Ryan‘), and we’ve seen our share of alien films (‘Independence Day,’ ‘Starship Troopers,’ ‘District 9‘), and when you combine both of those elements in one film, we’ve also seen plenty of that as well.

With a cast that includes Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Pena, Cory Hardrict, Ne-Yo, Ramon Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Will Rothhaar, and Adetokumboh M’Cormack, ‘Battle: Los Angeles’ is nothing more than another fast paced, clichéd action/ sci-fi film but visually splendid and enjoyable.

Directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the film starts off with soldiers in a military helicopter ready to descend on Los Angeles as they watch other comrades be attack by aliens from another world. Flashback to a day earlier, Sergeant Nantz (played by Eckhart) is ready to hand in his walking papers after 20 years of duty and lead a normal life. Still tormented by the fact that he’s the only survivor from his last tour assignment, he’s willing to train new marines for combat before retiring.

His arrival doesn’t bode well with some of the Marines, including Corporal Jason Lockett (played by Hardrict), whose brother was killed while in Nantz’s unit. When news of an alien invasion reaches California, it’s all hands on deck and personal matters have to be put aside for the greater good.

Placed as second-in-command to recently promoted 2nd Lt. William Martinez (played by Ramon Rodriguez), Nantz helps leads a small unit to Los Angeles to extract some civilians held up in a police station. They have less than three hours to get them and get back to the base before bombs are lowered down to kill any aliens in the “hot zone.”

After meeting up with other soldiers, including Tech Sgt. Elena Santos (played by Michelle Rodriguez), the unit finds the missing civilians, including a veterinarian (played by Bridget Moynahan) and a father (played by Michael Pena) and son. With less time remaining before the bombs come down, the remaining humans must get out of the city while alluding several aliens chasing them.

Aside from the shaky camera and sub-par dialogue, which includes awkward lines (during tense scenes) like “Marines don’t quit,” or ‘I’m a veterinarian, maybe I can help,” the rest of the film is a gung-ho action, science fiction film that will have audiences on the edge of their seats.

He may not have had the lines that Eric Bana had in ‘Black Hawk Down,’ or Tom Hanks in ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ but Eckhart is just as good as any one of them in conveying leadership ship skills with some emotional baggage. Having been in plenty of action films from ‘Resident Evil,’ ‘S.W.A.T,’ and ‘Avatar,’ Michelle Rodriguez could have done this role sleepwalking and it would still be effective. Any military unit would be proud to have her on the team.

As for the newcomers (Cory Hardrict, Ne-Yo, Ramon Rodriguez, Will Rothhaar, and Adetokumboh M’Cormack) in the film, it’s a good look for all of them, including Cory Hardrict, who shines as the brother ready to pick up where his dead brother left off. Playing against his type, Ne-Yo’s performance is more than what most people would expect from the gifted musician. He’s not there for comedic or singing purposes. The guy can act and thankfully this role affords him the chance to show his range.

In the end, if you love playing the video game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops,’ and want to see something similar, you can’t go wrong with ‘Battle: LA.’