It has been quite some time since I acquiesced to a severe cinematic beat down the likes of Battle: Los Angeles.
I usually prefer my masochism in the form of stiletto heels nearly piercing my scrotum. Then a sharp demand that I don a soiled diaper and crawl around on the floor. Followed by a steady stream of insulting profanity, so crude and demeaning, that it actually induces a minor stroke and puts into question whether or not I even possess testosterone in my bloodstream.
And, fuck, I willingly pay for that.
For Battle: Los Angeles is such a clumsy Hollywood attempt at ratcheting up xenophobia AND celebrating American militarism that I may be the only one left outside of the Pentagon to recognize (or care about) that fine line between shitty entertainment and propagandistic bellicosity. The rest of you seem morally fatigued- weary from the surging flow of new outrages, acts of murder and imperial hubris that are persistently being carried out in your name by your own government that you've simply put the sensory deprivation hood of creature comforts on and are making demands that people only speak to you in positive aphorisms or small talk. If only to avoid the reality that your country is behaving like a heavily armed frat boy, sloshed on Red Bull cocktails, out to prove his manhood at all costs.
The film (if it can actually be called that) meanders somewhere between "The few, the proud/army strong" recruitment spots and an FPS video game (with accompanying Call of Duty admonishments about the futility of war). Balanced with the dull hatchet dramatic nuance of every shitty John Wayne propaganda film from 1942's Flying Tigers to the shocking war pornography of The Green Berets in 1968.
The major coup here by the film's producers is that they (without a hint of irony) cast the American military in the role of defensive freedom fighters by having the enemy be nearly indestructible alien troops invading for purposes of... wait for it... resources. In this case water, not oil.
It takes exceedingly big balls, considering our warmongering efforts abroad over the past ten years, to make a vulgar indoctrination film that essentially portrays our forces as victimized underdogs in a home turf struggle for precious fluids against a mechanized invading army of drones and robotic warriors. It's as if the filmmakers simply passed on a metaphoric or alternate reality and decided on a thematic "opposite day". The ludicrousness was sort of like seeing Goebbels on Sean Hannity's Great American Panel segment as they discussed the essence of patriotism. Let us never speak of the linguistic twisting of "terrorist" vs. "freedom fighter" ever again. We are our worst enemy now.
Hell, maybe the Pentagon secretly financed this film all along.
But Battle: Los Angeles has a warm, human side as well. Anthropomorphized by Aaron Eckhart's chin and his back story of questionably leaving some fellow soldiers under his command to die on a battlefield in Iraq. He's requested his walking papers after a career in the service and is looking forward to his retirement when, all of sudden, the ghost of Danny Glover's Lethal Weapon character lunges out from behind a Humvee and warns him, "You're getting too old for this shit."
Then aliens rain down meteors off the coast of California and the rest, as they say, is history. Or, in this case, revisionist history for future generations of American youth to remember those awful, fateful years in the early 21st Century when Iraq, led by a monster named Saddam Hussein, cowardly attacked our shores with mighty air power and hordes of steel-plated, robot warriors and was miraculously beaten back into the sea. Which led to our reluctant crusades into darkest Arabia where we similarly defeated the industrialized mega-armies of the United Sultanates with our typical grit, determination and exceptionalism for freedom loving peoples everywhere.
And because it's what Israel wanted.
Get it while it's hot.