Battle: Los Angeles (12A)

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez
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The Independent Culture

Starship Troopers meets The War of the Worlds. Helicopters buzz the sky and CNN gets hysterical. Planet Earth is under attack again from gun-toting aliens, and as the world's major cities collapse, Los Angeles becomes the last frontier of human resistance (where else did you imagine it would be?).

Aaron Eckhart plays a washed-up staff sergeant hauled out of retirement to fight the good fight with a bunch of rookie marines, initially sceptical of this old war-horse who lost men in Iraq. The battle sequences borrow the visceral shock-and-awe of Saving Private Ryan, with this difference: the whole film is battle sequences. It's just running, shooting, dodging, killing, not badly done but pretty numbing over two hours. Planet-in-peril movies are usually designed to highlight the collective humanity that will see us through the dark. Not here – it's the lock'n'load, gung-ho spirit of the marines that constitutes the real subject of celebration.