If you were to ask me for a quick movie comparison for Battle: Los Angeles I would say Black Hawk Down + Independence Day. It has the frenetic combat scenes from Black Hawk Down as well as the alien invasion angle (and cheese) of Independence Day.
Battle: LA is an earnest, realistic look at combat during an alien invasion that is anchored by the performance of Aaron Eckhart.
The special effects were outstanding and very realistic and the shaky camera fits in with the tone and look of the movie so it isn't bothersome. Even the basic plot of a team of Marines trying to get a group of civilians to safety is a solid one.
Even though the movie is able to create real tension with the urban combat - you really feel like you're in the thick of things - the main problem is that it telegraphs a number of important scenes. You see them coming a mile away and when the important scene does happen, it feels forced. If the dialogue had been stronger this film would have been much better off for it.
Also, aside from Aaron Eckhart's character, there really isn't much character development - the Marines and civilians are just there to move the plot forward, so it's difficult to care when something bad happens to one of them.
I've been seeing a number of complaints about the same-ness of the battle scenes but come on! The Marines are going through a couple of mile stretch in an urban setting - how "unique" can you make various battle scenes? I thought there were enough differences between each fight to make them stand out from one another.
What makes Battle: Los Angeles work over a movie like Skyline is that even though it has a small focus - this group of Marines are just one part of the actual fighting force - it is able to bring in information that the characters of Skyline wouldn't have available to them and the movie makes sense.
Is Battle: LA going to be an all-time favorite? Probably not but it was still a thrilling movie to watch.