Lionsgate // 2012 // 102 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 6th, 2012
The worst is yet to come.
Is it possible for this war movie to be as boring and generic as its terrible title? Why yes! Yes, it is.
It's World War II and, in the teeth of the fight against the Nazis, a super-special fighting force is assembled to embark on a near-suicide missions. This collection of warriors -- unfortunately not called "Battle Force" -- is dispatched deep into enemy territory to retrieve a captured comrade. Along the way, they pick up a pair of female stragglers and engage in a series of increasingly dull gunfire exchanges. By the end, a couple of guys swing knives at each other. Despite what the back of the disc case shows, there are no airplane dogfights.
Battle Force, this micro-budgeted affair, shows only the briefest of glimpses of any kind of military weaponry which is rendered in dodgy CGI. Writer/director Scott Martin saves all his pennies for the shootout scenes, so don't go in expecting any kind of high-flying Battle 360 shenanigans.
Don't expect much entertainment either. Martin's heart is in the right place: He hates Nazis, likes the Greatest Generation, and seems generally interested in showing our military in a positive night. So I don't want to pile on, this being the week of Independence Day and all. But if you're looking for an action movie that's even approaching being worthy of your time, I'm afraid Battle Force absolutely lives down to its laughable name.
For starters, I didn't care about any of these band of brothers. This is a death blow, considering they're risking life and limb. You see, the occasional explosion via potato masher is supposed to resonate and deliver at least a modicum of gravitas to build suspense. But I don't remember any of these guys...and I watched the film yesterday. I take that back. There is that one the guy with the awful accent, but that's just because his accent is awful.
This apathy towards our heroes, mixed with uninspired action choreography, leads us to the biggest problem with Battle Force: the battles aren't forceful. There is plenty of gunfire, the sound effects are loud, and the actors are followed by shaky-cam into Call of Duty-like corners and confines, but it's just all empty sound and fury.
The DVD serves up the requisite technical merits to project this emptiness, dropping a clean standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a loud-enough Dolby 5.1 Surround mix. The lone extra is a commentary from Scott Martin, actor Clint Glenn Hummel, and producer Michael Slifkin.
Battle Force feels like a labor of love, but it's really just a labor to sit through.
Guilty. This film has been disavowed.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 102 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Rated R