1. It can have boring characters.
Check. Battle : Los Angeles doesn’t even have actual characters per se, it’s just got dull, bog-standard stereotypes dressed up in uniform. There’s Aaron Eckhart, who pretty much always sucks and just gets cast because he’s got a square jaw, as the forced-back-into-action military veteran who’s got to lead a platoon (or whatever they’re called) into battle despite the fact that he just got some men killed under his watch in Iraq (or maybe it’s Afghanistan) and was on the way to file his retirement papers. then there’s Michelle Rodriguez playing the same part she always does — a bad-ass superheroine-type who’s tough as nail but also supposedly sexy (even though she isn’t and never has been). Then we’ve got the guy about to get married, the African dude who joined the army to get his US citizenship so he could go to med school when his tour of duty was completed, etc. You’ll forget their names and their faces by the time they (mostly) get killed, and you won’t care when they die.
2. It can have an uninteresting story.
Battle : Los Angeles scores again on that front. After being given the most cursory “introduction” to the characters possible, we learn that the world is being invaded by giant fucking flying saucers with battle-ready robots spewing forth from them and by the time we learn what they’re doing here — evidently they want to rip off all our water — we no longer care (if we’re sane).
3. It can be poorly directed.
Another hit! Battle : Los Angeles is directed by grade-A hack Jonathan Liebesman who can’t decide if he wants to make Saving Private Ryan or Cloverfield and seems to get stuck somewhere in the middle. It’s trying to put us in the “middle of the action” at all times, but since we don’t give a single, solitary, flying fuck about any of the “action,” the middle of it is nowhere you’ll want to be. You just want everyone to get killed and the whole thing to end. Except it drags out for a brutal, interminable 116 minutes. Stay home and watch your toenails grow instead, it’ll be a more productive — and involving — use of your time.
4. It can have bad acting.
Bingo again! Battle : Los Angeles features atrocious, cardboard-cut-out acting from all involved. Nobody does anything above and beyond showing up to earn their paycheck.
5. It can have laughable dialogue.
Bull’s-eye! Battle : Los Angeles features some of the most ham-fisted dialogue to come out of Hollywood in recent memory, and that’s really saying something. No one has anything to say beyond brave-sounding bullshit and useless military jargon. this stuff makes John Wayne look positively fucking subtle by comparison.
6. It can have a stupid, intelligence-insulting premise.
On this score, Battle : Los Angeles is even more guilty than on the others. At its core this overstuffed pig is nothing more than a high-tech military recruitment film, designed to portray all our men and women in uniform (and form all cultures and all parts of the world — today’s army will take ‘em all, aren’t they wonderful?) as noble, purposeful people of the highest integrity and unflinching virtue. PTSD , horrible injuries, even death — it all just goes with the territory when you’re fighting for all that’s right and good, doesn’t it? A small price to pay for defending — uhhhmmm — “freedom.” The hard, cold reality — that our government and, more specifically, its corporate bosses, view these guys and gals as nothing more than hamburger for their always-churning meat grinder is conveniently glossed over. Have fun dying for Halliburton and GE, suckers. Hollywood will always be around to spend millions portraying you as noble warriors for truth and justice rather than poorly-paid hired thugs for the corporate class. Might have something to do with who owns the studios, I’m willing to bet. Sure, there’s danger — but danger is cool! Sure, you might end up on a morgue slab — but you’ll get there the “honorable” way. Your life — and death — will have meaning and purpose, unlike it does now (since most of that meaning and purpose has been robbed from you right from the outset by the same greedy bastards who will then tell you how “heroic” it is to put yourself on the line protecting their ever-increasing profit margins).
Ya know, I think I’m gonna stop right there. Sure, the list could go on and on, but the fact is that there are only so many ways for me to implore you to not see this film under any circumstances whatsoever. Honestly, it makes the Transformers flicks looks like complex, intricate woks of cinematic art. I, for one, welcome our new alien overlords — if it means that no more movies like this will ever be made.