BATTLE: LA is not a good popcorn movie…

Unless you want to pick it up off the floor to eat it. I jumped so many times I had to set the popcorn aside.

Battle: LA proves (once again) that I’m one of the uncultured masses when it comes to movies. It was widely panned by critics, but did well at the box office. Yes, it was full of clichéd character types and plot elements (clash of newbie officer paired with veteran sergeant, aliens after our water, etc) but it still worked for me.

What I liked about the movie:
Before I went to see it, I’d heard the action was the only thing good about this movie. The story, critics claim, is an overused war movie plot. Okay, I’ll admit they did lump in a lot of tried and true war movie elements, but I thought they also added some complexity. The civilians added some great moments that seemed fresh and riveting to me. The movie follows a groups of soldiers tasked with getting a group of civilians out from behind enemy lines. Of course everything goes wrong, but along the way the moments between the sergeant and one of the children had me teary eyed. And when the lady veterinarian offered to help the soldiers rip into an alien to figure out the anatomy (so they could kill them more effectively), my first thought was that she’d make a great kick-ass SFR heroine. Lots of edge of your seat, gut wrenching, and inspiring moments.

What drove me nuts:
On the other hand, the action was too often regrettably annoying. A lot of the action scenes were shot documentary (aka shaky hand camera) style. I wanted to scream at the screen that tripods were invented for a reason. Ack! The effects were good when you could see them, but there were some logic errors that had to be overlooked. The single thing that would have most improved this movie was a good military advisor. Lots of errors on that score.

The verdict:
Ultimately, the characters kept me riveted and the big booms made the popcorn fly. Everything I need from a SciFi action flick.

The question: What do you look for in a SciFi action flick?