The USMC gets its money's worth from Aaron Eckhart in Battle: Los Angeles. His Sgt. Rock/Nick Fury chin displays like a wall in virtually every scene, even when his gyrenes are getting ground up by the alien troops. Which is for most of this thing.
However, even when losing they're winning, displaying to-the-last-man fanatical grit wrapped around hearts of gold. It's royally corny but as a pure combat film for the sake of mindless entertainment it's fine.
The grime, ruins and explosions are as real as Hollywood can make them even if the story isn't. But no one comes to the movie for the dialogue or characters any more sophisticated than those in Marvel Comics' Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos in the Sixties.
(Actually, the Howling Commandos were more colorful than Eckhart's bunch. The exception is Michelle Rodriguez who'd fit right in with Nick Fury. Rodriguez now utterly owns the role of the heavy-weapon slinging woman in uniform twice as tough as the men surrounding her.)
If you go for the military tactics, you'll be disappointed. The Marines show almost no common sense. Right off they cluster in a bunch and neglect looking up in house-to-house fighting. Naturally, they're ambushed from the "Santa Monica" rooftops.
The US military gives the alien force a long window of opportunity after it storms ashore before scheduling a shellacking from the air. This is one of those deus ex machina plot devices that allows the aliens to muster their own air power -- drones, as it happens. They immediately tip the battle in the invading force's favor.
The air strike never occurs. The aliens overrun the forward operating base. Everything looks lost.
The aliens, it's said, are here for the water which they use as a fuel source. Don't think too hard about that one.
Energy-wise, water isn't trivial to split and because of that and a few other things particular to it we have life. So the power resources needed to do the physical-law breaking stuff the alien air does is unreachable by explanation.
Where are the salvos of cruise missiles? Where are the Linebacker B-52 strikes from superhigh when it's obvious all of LA has been reduced to rubble?
Any alien shore-invading force that's kinetically of a kind with the US military -- that is they stock assault troops and crew-served weapons, mostly -- can't persist with supply that's win with what you've brought.
When things finally look darkest, the Marines cut down by half and in retreat, it's an electromagnetic pulse -- another deus ex machina -- that sets the stage for the inevitable reversal. The alien command center emits one, revealing its position, just as our boys are flying away overhead.
Let's go get 'em, signals Eckhart's staff sergeant.
There's time for one more pitched desperate battle and then you know what happens.
Give it a B for volumes of ammo expended and stock but hearty heroism.
This post was originally published at Dick Destiny blog.