As far as high concept ideas to launch a franchise go, 2011’s Battle: Los Angeles boasted a doozy. The alien invasion film has become almost passé at this point, but Jonathan Liebesman’s effort came armed with a budget of $70 million, which is very much within the genre’s lower reaches, and looked to tell a boots on the ground war story with a sci-fi spin.
The plot is much the same as many other militarized actioners in that a dogged Army veteran leads his rapidly dwindling platoon into action with the odds stacked heavily against them, but a combination of solid effects work, a suitably grimy aesthetic and Liebesman having clearly picked up a thing or two from his mentor Michael Bay results in a gritty street-level film packed with wall-to-wall set pieces that isn’t above resorting to a cliche or ten.
Battle: Los Angeles was a solid success at the box office after earning $211 million, but it never got to realize that franchise potential. One idea being touted by Sony at the time was to have each subsequent installment take place in a different city around the world, so we could have theoretically ended up with the likes of Battle: London, Battle: Tokyo and so on, which is a neat hook with which to build a multi-film series.
Despite the desire on the part of Liebesman and leading man Aaron Eckhart to see it happen, Battle: Los Angeles never got that follow-up, with the studio losing interest awfully quickly despite the fact that it turned a healthy profit. The movie is now streaming on Netflix, though, and it’s exactly the type of spectacle-driven entertainment that always tends to draw in a big audience, so don’t be surprised if it lands on the Top 10 most-watched list over the coming days.