Battle Los Angeles

Alien invasion flick transforms your home cinema into an AV battleground

Battle: Los Angeles desperately wants to be the Hurt Locker of alien invasion movies. Unsurprisingly, it isn’t. Despite all of the attempts at cinema vérité-style naturalism on show here (shaky-cams and crash zooms abound) there’s none of the intelligence of Kathryn Bigelow’s film at work here. Instead what we have is a traditional gung-ho action flick that feels more like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare - The Movie, only replacing fictional Middle Eastern-types with equally fictional extra-terrestrial invaders. That’s not to say the film isn’t fun. Behind all of the lazy characterisation and obvious plotting lies 116-minutes of enjoyable action and spectacle – just the thing then for those of you who have got bored of spinning ID4 on Blu-ray over and over again.

Picture: In striving for gritty verisimilitude, Battle: Los Angeles opts for a fairly muted palette, full of dull greys and greens, while its locations are generally full of hazy smoke and there’s a fine layer of grain inherent in the image. All of which would seem to add up to a less than impressive hi-def experience. But, the disc’s AVC 2.40:1 1080p encode pulls it back with some incredible fine detailing that gives every scene a sense of depth and every object a realistic texture that makes it seem like being there with the soldiers in the middle of a war zone. And when primary colours do make an appearance (like the orange and yellow fireballs accompanying explosions) they’re so richly saturated and contrast so greatly with the rest of the palette they seem to jump off the screen.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: It’s hardly surprising that Battle: Los Angeles arrives on Blu-ray with a stellar DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix. After all, here’s a film that throws you into the middle of an urban battleground, one filled with gunfire and explosions. The surround speakers are constantly engaged and deliver flawless positional effects and panning, while the LFE-channel packs a mighty wallop with every explosion. Superb stuff.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: In place of a traditional audio commentary, the film comes to Blu-ray with a Command Control mode that uses picture-in-picture tech to serve up interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, storyboards and links to ten BD-exclusive Battle Point featurettes (each between two- and four-minutes) that take a closer look at the making of a particular scene or a specific aspect of the production. These Battle Points can also be viewed in isolation from the Command Control sub-menu. The disc also features MovieIQ functionality, a BD-Live link, and seven further featurettes (Behind the Battle, Directing the Battle, Aliens in L.A., Preparing for Battle, Boot Camp, Creating L.A. in LA and The Freeway Battle) exploring the visual FX used to bring the aliens to life, re-creating the streets of L.A. in Louisiana, the military training undertaken by the cast and more. All of the extra features are presented in 1080p
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: An enjoyable piece of sci-fi spectacle that delivers the goods in a home cinema environment.

Sony Pictures, All-region BD, £25 approx, On sale now