A honorably discharged but emotionally disturbed Iraq war vet (Christian Bale) tries to hold it together as he and an unemployed buddy (Freddy Rodriguez of HBO's Six Feet Under ) cruise the mean streets of Los Angeles in David Ayer's relentless and overdone drama. Ayer, who wrote Training Day and Dark Blue, has always been interested in male bonding and the meaning of machismo, and both are copiously on display in Harsh Times. Ayer tries to tackle too many themes at once, from the travails of veterans of America's latest war to the toll of outsourcing on American jobs to the grim racial realities of inner city LA It doesn't help that Bale gives a distinctly uneven performance -- sometimes quietly effective and chilling, other times going over the top with his florid dialogue and emoting. Rodriguez is better, but he's just the sidekick in this ambitious but unfocused film. Starring Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez and Eva Longoria. Directed and written by David Ayer. Produced by Andrea Sperling and David Ayer. A Bauer Martinez release. Drama. Rated R for strong violence, language and drug use. Running time: 119 min.