Gun Nuts Movie Reviews: Battle: Los Angeles

I’ll get right to the point. Battle: Los Angeles is a great movie. Not because it’s well written or well directed, but because it’s 100% honest about itself. It’s also a far better war movie than The Hurt Locker or Zero Dark Thirty. While we’re on that topic, can someone tell me why we keep letting Kathryn Bigelow direct war movies? The Hurt Locker sucked, and Zero Dark Thirty Sucked. Sure, Point Break was epic and amazing, but that was 23 years ago.

But back to Battle: LA. It’s great. According to my friends from the Marines, it manages to be just the right amount of moto, not too much and not moto enough, but right on point. Aaron Eckhart nails the crusty Marine sergeant, and the rest of the characters are pretty well done, right down to the inexperienced butter bar who manages to HTFU and make a decent end of himself. Sure, Michelle Rodriguez shows up playing the same character she always plays, and no they don’t let women work as 1C4X1 in the Air Force, but we can skip over that.


Here’s the basic premise of Battle: LA. Aliens attack earth, and a platoon of Marines needs to help evacuate survivors. It promises you one thing: aliens fighting Marines. It delivers. It also delivers the best rifle to pistol transition I’ve ever seen in a movie during the pretty sweet final battle scene between the embattled Marines and the bugs. The movie has all right notes, it’s fun, there are explosions, gunfights, and solid action. But what’s really great about the movie is how it’s actually a sneaky throwback to the moto war movies of the 40s and 50s.

It’s not cool in Hollywood to make war movies that show American servicemen and women kicking ass and taking names. The last movie I can think of about the American military kicking ass is Black Hawk Down, and even that’s fairly ambiguous. The Kingdom would qualify, but the protagonists are FBI agents, not US troops. To put it plainly, Hollywood doesn’t like to make movies about Americans winning wars. They like moral ambiguity and Jeremy Renner crying in the shower. So if you want to make an unapologetic pro-Murica Moto War Movie, you have to make the bad guys aliens. Because they can’t be Islamic extremists, someone might get offended. We even pulled the Chinese out of the miserable Red Dawn reboot, and replaced them with the extremely unlikely North Koreans.


Battle: Los Angeles does it right though. They do get rid of the human villains in favor of faceless communist bugs, but the movie itself is exactly what I describe above. Pro-Murica Moto Shoot Badguys in the face. Sometimes when you’re sitting on a plane flying cross country, you don’t want to watch a serious film reflecting on the horrors of war. Sometimes you just want to watch America kick some ass. If you do, pick up Battle: Los Angeles on one of the various streaming services. Don’t believe me? Let Terminal Lance convince you.


  1. 100% agree. I love that film.

    Lone Survivor was good for me too, though the reminder that what was depicted actually happened kept the rah rah feel in check.

    Perhaps instead of not wanting to show ‘murica kicking ass, maybe the film makers justly feel that there isn’t a fighting force on this planet that could look like anything other than a wet paper sack when going up against the USMC? So advanced Aliens it is.

    1. Read the book Lone Survivor Joe the movie left out a lot an skewed facts about the outcome of Marcus’s ordeal

  2. Kathryn Bigelow rode the coattails of her ex-husband James Cameron. The only movie of hers that I liked was Near Dark. I gave up on her after Blue Steel, which she both wrote and directed.

  3. In my (admitted limited exposure world) “moto” means motorcycle to me…what does it mean in your review? thanks

  4. Although there are some things not quite right, I thought they did a good job with Battleship. Somewhat of a Navy advert.. 😀

  5. RCS-short for MOTIVATED, sometimes in an over the top manner. Usually accompanied by Marine speak which is not translatable to non Marines. Or so my Army tanker buddy tells me.

    1. I totally learned it from a Marine; a good friend of mine back in Seattle. Reading Terminal Lance on the reg helps.

  6. I’m usually the first guy to jump on Hollywood leftists and political correctness gone wild, but a lot of these decisions (like swapping Best Koreans for ChiComs in Red Dawn) are done for business reasons, not ideology. Pacific Rim, for example, made 75% of its revenue outside of the US..Hollywood makes millions from Chinese movie-goers.

  7. One of the best lines in that movie was one or the last : “We’ve already had breakfast, sir.”

  8. I completely enjoyed the movie and hope it’s doing well in rentals since it tanked in the theaters.

  9. > Here’s the basic premise of Battle: LA. Aliens attack earth

    > So if you want to make an unapologetic pro-Murica Moto
    > War Movie, you have to make the bad guys aliens.

    We call them “undocumented extra-terrestrial immigrants” now.

  10. As was pointed out, the swap of Chinese for North Koreans was a business decision. Admittedly, it was because the Chinese bought United Artists. The studio was in bankruptcy, which delayed the release of the film. Then, Chinese investors bought the studio and demanded the villains be changed.

  11. Agreed all around, except that Act of Valor is a badass war movie and much more contemporary than Blackhawk Down.

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