Battle: Los Angeles

Rated 3.0

In the face of an invasion from outer space, a detail of Marines (led by tough sergeant Aaron Eckhart) venture behind enemy lines in Santa Monica to rescue some stranded civilians. Christopher Bertolini’s script is yet another variation on H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, but with a twist: This time we see things from the viewpoint of individual combat grunts, the kind of people who have served only as hapless extras to be annihilated in previous alien-invasion movies. Characters are quick-sketch cardboard but deftly acted, the action as harsh and immediate as anything in The Hurt Locker or Black Hawk Down. Director Jonathan Liebesman overdoes the shaky-cam photography—this is a movie designed to be watched on an iPad, not a big screen—but the result is better than it probably has a right to be.