FSpaceRPG article

Status: Official

A great action romp for those who want to see a bunch of Marines in a urban warzone trade fire with aliens on the ground. Billed as Black Hawk Down meets Independence Day, it certainly delivers on the action perspective. Street battles happen all the time, but very few close combat situations, except a few bayonet shots near the end of the movie. The art of CG has advanced enough to allow convincing street battles. The makers have steered away from close combat scenes to avoid the too fake look. However the CG still has somewhat to be desired to make it look real.

As alien invasions go you get to see far more of the scope of the ground war compared with the off camera action that the most recent War of the Worlds portrayed when US forces hit the aliens.

Battle LA tries to avoid most of the patriotic posing that Independence Day tried, and kept it a little more real. But like all good Hollywood movies it keeps enough American cliches and military patriotism to keep people entertained.

I recommend you keep your science, military and CG critiquing at home and enjoy the movie. Save the analysis for Blu Ray later. This movie is well worth watching in the front 5 rows of a theatre where you can get the big screen experience. There’s no gorgeous CG that you’ll want to admire from a distance. Get up front and enjoy the action and get the theatre rumble.

The aliens are a bit stupid. They start with good ambush attack tactics, but in freeway street battles they wind up clustering too much and while effective, keep getting picked off. Later they just get stupidly mowed down by a LAV and Hummer running over them. The city is in ruins at that point and they’ve encountered plenty of US military including hummer, LAVs and tanks. You’d have though they’d have been wiser and stop being mowed down like ‘deer’.

The movie plot is simple and anyone can follow it. The end part of the plot is kind of the predictable ending, showing a lack of military strategy on the part of the aliens. I’m sure the military scifi fans will explain it away with various alien psychologies, which I’m sure will be passable.

Just the feel of the alien military strategies started with a strong note, and ended fairly weakly, not not too weakly to be unbelievable, keeping you in the story.

Honestly given what you see in the movie, you’ve got to wonder why the US doesn’t use its real heavy ordinance, the situation certainly warranted surgical use of it. Some questions for the bloggers to argue about.

Overall the movie makes a credible job of setting up an alien beachhead invasion in a very realistic manner, with technology and weaponry that we’ll recognize and feel is more appropriate for a civilisation advanced beyond ours, but not that far advanced the application of the technology alone would be enough to destroy us. Its a far more even contest, and the aliens have a fundamental flaw with the infrastructure. See the movie to find out.

For role-players, the movie establishes a firm grip on the subject of gritty alien invasions, and sets a drama for good character level gaming where its achievable to take on aliens and score a major blow. None of the supra-genius virus solutions from ID4 here.

The movie portrays the invasion conflict in a way gamers will understand, can relate to, and fits a gaming group, like a recon force, strike team or rescue op into context of a bigger realistic picture.

In FSpace I can imagine scenes like it as part of any major campaign where one forces wants to take planetary territory from another and has to take cities block by block, extinguishing all resistance, whether military or civilian.

The Serpenti War was likely to have engagements like this, especially when the Stotatl Empire had to take strategic territory from the Aronhi which they could’t just cripple with pure bombardment from space.

I recommend GMs setup what they think is appropriate, and pay attention to details of our published conflicts, or ones we’ll mention in the future.

If you don’t see this at theatres, buy it on BluRay or DVD.

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