Starring Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano and Liam Neeson
Written by Erich and Jon Hoeber
Directed by Peter Berg
After a brief hiatus I have returned with a review that has had my head spinning. How do I talk about Battleship? Quite possibly the loudest and most annoyingly inconsequential film of the last decade, Battleship makes no apologies for its “script” which is a collage of the worst film clichés. But did we really expect anything else from a movie based on a board game?
Battleship starts with the brothers Hopper, Alex (Kitsch) and Stone (Skarsgard), in a bar while Stone laments the fact that Alex is a screw up who can’t stay employed. In walks Samantha Shane (Decker), whose request for a chicken burrito leads to Alex breaking into a closed convenience store for one to give her (yes, you read that right). Of course Alex is chased by the police and tased, but magically ends up waking up at home and not in a jail cell. Stone decides it’s time for Alex to join the Navy with him. We jump forward six years to find that Stone, now in his early 30’s, has become a Commander of a Naval Destroyer (!!) and Alex is now a Lieutenant and 3rd in command of another Destroyer (in only 6 years and despite his criminal past!). Sam, as it turns out is the daughter of Admiral Shane (Neeson), who doesn’t like Alex at all and may make Alex’s plans for marriage more complicated. During the setup for Rimpack, a joint Naval games exercise with Naval outfits from across the globe (so we can sell to those overseas markets!), we are introduced to many more characters, including Petty Officer Raikes (Rihanna in her theatrical debut) and a rival Japanese Captian, Nagata (Asano). During the games aliens crash-land in the ocean and construct a barrier cutting off three ships from the rest of the fleets. They proceed to destroy them with propelled charges that look exactly like the pegs from the Battleship Board Game! Of course somehow Alex becomes a commanding officer and it’s up to him to save the day.
Sorry for the extraneous use of punctuation during my synopsis, but the preposterousness of it all had to be emphasized. I didn’t even get to the scene where they commandeer a decommissioned Battleship that they have no idea how to operate, only to spark an ACDC accompanied montage where veterans magically appear on the boat and fire up the engines! The biggest issue with Battleship is despite all its goofiness and explosions galore, it’s actually really boring. Neeson is a footnote in the story, written out of over half the film due to the barrier supplied by the Aliens. While I found Kitsch quite enjoyable in the overstuffed John Carter from earlier this year (review here), he does not come off as well here. Spouting terribly clichéd dialogue and blankly starring at green screened alien foes, his Alex never seems credible at any moment of time during the proceedings. Decker’s Sam, while engaging in an utterly inconceivable side plot, is mainly eye candy for the teenaged boys this film is clearly targeted at. Rihanna, the only non-actor in the main cast, actually manages some charisma onscreen, even if her acting chops are obviously shown to be very limited.
As stated earlier, Battleship commits the cardinal sin of any action film – it’s boring as hell. Even pulling out the go to for action montages, ACDC (not once but twice), cannot make the film feel any more interesting. The good folks at Universal had high hopes for this becoming their Transformers franchise, but even they couldn’t have predicted how bad would turn out. Director Berg has made some fun stuff in the past, but seems to have left all the fun out his latest. Save yourself the hassle and go see Avengers again. Battleship is a Strong Non-Recommend.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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