"Battle: Los Angeles" review: Even hype can't save it

A scene from "Battle: Los Angeles." (Columbia Pictures)
A scene from "Battle: Los Angeles." (Columbia Pictures)

(CBS) Director Jason Liebesman's science-fiction feature "Battle: Los Angeles" is an over-the-top action fantasy-cum-docudrama that is so poorly executed and far-fetched, it actually resembles a farce instead of the thriller it was designed to be.

Almost a parody, in some respects, of "War of the Worlds," the film does deliver on sensational shots of mass destruction that occasionally take your breath away. But it is so full of stereotypes and cliches that, right out of the gate, it hasn't got a chance of living up to its own hype.

Bombastic staff sergeant Michael Nantz (Aaron Eckhart) is the sole hero, charged with leading an eclectic (to put it mildly) new platoon when Los Angeles comes under siege by Transformer-like alien warriors.

Choppered into Santa Monica, the motley group embarks on a mission to save civilians, but has only three hours before a cataclysmic bomb will wipe out civilization.. Oh dear - that's quite a responsibility to have to shoulder.

Eckhart, perfectly cast as a ruggedly good looking, capable action hero, is joined mid-mission by Michelle Rodriguez, an aggressive Air Force sergeant who can hold her own. Also making appearances are Ramon Rodgriguez, Bridget Moynahan and Michael Pena, all of whom seem to sail through this flick without making any real impact.

In part, the problem lies in the dialogue, which mostly consists of terse screams and monosyllabic, military-style commands.

Jonathan Liebesman ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning") uses raw, shaky camera perspectives in an attempt to give a sense of urgency and immediacy to what is going on. Instead, it has the opposite effect, making people want to tune out this not-worth-watching film.