Do you remember the days when alien invasion movies were all about the euphoric glory of humans warring mano a mano against extraterrestrial militia? The flashdance of Airforce jets and army-shouldered rocket launchers blasting rotund spaceships and laser-beamy mutants? Remember Independence Day? Predator? War of the Worlds 2005? Well these days the ET invasions are filmed with a gritty sense of perilled realism. Employing handheld cameras (Cloverfield); colours whitewashed in tonal grays (District 9) and sweeping scenes of militaristic survival, planet Earth is now being crucified by a grudge-video band of filmmakers. Battle: Los Angeles is an XBox hybrid of District 9 and Alien. Words of advice? Take the critical pummelling it received with a grain of “mindlessly entertaining, leave-at-your-seat” intergalatic salt. Yes the special effects are sub par (it appears someone used Photoshop as the CGI generating software); the theme a stewpot of plots pureed from the movies I listed above. Yet what pulled me into Battle: Los Angeles were the performances. I relished Aaron Eckhart in Rabbit Hole. And I was 100% behind him here as retiring Sergeant Michael Nantz, pulled back in for one last “hurrah” against the infiltrating aliens. Aliens, who look like the aliens from Aliens, trying to steal our H20. As the baddies make waterhole gas-stations out of renowned global cities, the remaining cast of I-don’t-know-who-you-are-but-you-look-somewhat-familiar soldiers try to rescue scattered civilians before Los Angeles is blown to smithereens. Whether us humans will win the alien war is appropriatedly and ambiguously left in clouted uncertainty, as choppers fly off towards the sunsetting coast. When the end-credits rolled, I was able to overlook the hokey CGI, the unoriginal aliens and the tepid plot for the empathetic acting, the better-than-expected dialogue, and the devastating sets (kudos, set designers!). Just don’t go in expecting the finesse of District 9.