And you thought it was difficult to get around in L.A. during rush hour! Try getting from Santa Monica to Camp Pendleton with an alien invasion force dogging your every step! That’s the premise of Battle Los Angeles, a reworking of Independence Day from the point of view of the ground troops, rather than the glamour-puss flyboys and the president of the United States.
Battle Los Angeles is all about house-to-house, street-level fighting, and it’s filmed with a tight, over-the-shoulder focus, which means there’s no widescreen epic here; nothing that begs for cinema-sized viewing. Lots of smoke and dust obscure the screen, so the enemy – or, more precisely, their firepower – comes out of the mists suddenly. This is probably as much a budget decision as a creative one; the major expense of this movie had to be fake rubble, because we see little else. The only vast-vista views of the war come at night, when most of the city is obscured by darkness.