Considering there are so many new ways to tell an alien-invasion story (found footage, mockumentary, spoof), Battle: Los Angeles is almost defiantly old-fashioned. It’s as if the filmmakers fought innovation at every turn.
Aaron Eckhart leads a platoon of Marines who are called in when aliens have launched a full-scale assault on L.A. Nearly every cliche you can imagine – not only from alien-invasion movies, but also from war dramas and disaster flicks – is wholeheartedly embraced. The creatures are slimy and tentacled, the soldiers are stock characters and the damage wrought upon iconic landmarks has that smoky, CGI aroma. As for the battle scenes, on the Michael Bay scale of action incoherence, Battle: Los Angeles is a 3 (with 10 being The Island and 1 being Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen).
While all of this was going on, I desperately searched the screen for a single element that could distinguish Battle: Los Angeles from the countless other such movies that have come before. Alas, not a single sign of intelligent life could be found. The only curiosity about the whole affair was that the bodies of the human victims seemed to receive more screen time than usual (though perhaps that can be explained by the fact that director Jonathan Liebesman also helmed The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning). I’m not sure if that’s a selling point – “Battle: Los Angeles. Come for the aliens, stay for the corpses.” – but it’s the only distinguishing element of an otherwise generic film.