Battle: Los Angeles (12A) - Rating: 6/10

SPACE INVADERS: Earthlings fight for survival again in this latest sci-fi shoot 'em up invasion saga
SPACE INVADERS: Earthlings fight for survival again in this latest sci-fi shoot 'em up invasion saga

Another year, another attempted alien invasion of Earth.

Considering the shambolic state of the planet, depleted of natural resources and poisoned by man-made toxins, surely there are more attractive colonisation options in the galaxy?

Yet the extra-terrestrials continue to descend on our major cities and the only way to survive is to fight back.

Before you can say Independence Day, War Of The Worlds and Skyline, the US military flexes its muscle and a Stars And Stripes flag flutters in slow-motion as a gesture of mankind’s last stand against these enemies from beyond the stars.

Director Jonathan Liebesman embraces the cliches of the genre with fervour, working from Chris Bertolini’s script, which is crudely bolted together with explosive action set pieces and slick digital effects that create a compelling vision of a city making its final stand.

The film opens on August 12, 2011, with capitals around the world under attack from a mobilised otherworldly force. Then we rewind 24 hours and follow events leading to first contact and the subsequent bloodbath.

Marine Staff Sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart), whose previous mission ended in carnage, is drafted to spearhead Second Battalion, Fifth Marines based at Camp Pendleton under Second Lieutenant William Martinez (Ramon Rodriguez) - a rising star, who has no active combat experience.

Nantz is told to lead his platoon along the coast to a police precinct where survivors are barricaded inside the building, awaiting rescue.

“Be advised you got exactly three hours before our bombs drop,” growls a general, providing the obligatory countdown to doom.

Corporal Lee Imlay (William Rothhaar), Nantz’s right-hand man, keeps a close eye on fellow soldiers including Lockett (Cory Hardrict), Harris (Ne-Yo), Stavrou (Gino Anthony Pesi), Grayston (Lucas Till), Doc (Adetokumboh M’Cormack) and new boy Lenihan (Noel Fisher).

Air Force Tech Sergeant Elena Santos (Michelle Rodriguez) joins the search and rescue, and she helps Nantz to shepherd veterinarian Michele (Bridget Moynahan), father Joe Rincon (Michael Pena) and his son Hector (Bryce Cass), plus two children (Joey King, Jadin Gould) to safety.

Battle Los Angeles delivers all of the macho posturing and edge of seat thrills that you expect set to a bombastic orchestral score.

The cast embrace their roles with utmost seriousness and most of the humour is unintentional. Delicious ironies in Bertolini’s screenplay are presumably accidental, like the invaders hunting down survivors by tracking their mobiles. It’s not good to talk.

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