I’ve just seen Battle:LA, starring Aaron Eckhart, and it seems that an era is over. The film itself isn’t especially remarkable Sci-Fi fare, covering a fictional world invasion, and a platoon of marines caught up in the mayhem. Indeed, the usual stereotypes are there; the hard-bitten sergeant with hand tremors; the lieutenant with no combat experience who promptly goes to pieces; even the hispanic woman who out-machos the men. Think Aliens meets Independence Day. The main difference here, however, is the portrayal of the military. Back in the “post-vietnam” days, military might was at best inadequate, and at worst malevolent. The platoons in Predator and Aliens were hopelessly outclassed, the invading pilots in Independence Day couldn’t be beaten without Windows security flaws, and even as recently as Avatar, military muscle was no match for smurfs with sticks. Recently, however, things have changed. It’s not that the marines of Battle Los Angeles have become super-soldiers, instead that the alienshave regressed. To butcher HG Wells, “for all their technology and their might, the invaders were laid low with simple bullets.” And so, Vietnam is over. Once more, the American military is the most powerful force in the universe. Aliens beware.