Battleship is a big, stupid action movie and it knows it. We are treated to a prologue in which we are introduced to our heroes. Taylor Kitsch (was there ever a more appropriate name for an action star) plays Alex Hopper a waster, who drunkenly robs a convenience store to get a burrito for a potential not flame, played by Brooklyn Decker.
He gets arrested and much to the chagrin of his older brother (Alexander Skarsgard) seems not to care. Cue the big speech from his brother that leads him to reconsider his life.
Inexplicably three minutes later he has not only joined the navy but seems to be in a position of high responsibility, one step down from commanding a vessel. It seems the Navy is crying out for petulant, compulsive idiots to look after their billion dollar equipment. His love interest also turns out to be the daughter of his supreme commander, who’d have thunk it?
To ramp up the excitement the Navy are teaming up with other navies from around the world to take part in an international war games exercise. Almost as soon as it starts the world is attacked by aliens, who are water based and set up a force field around the war games craft. What follows is a series of set pieces in which the aliens attack the humans and the humans fight back.
The story is moved forward by the cast who range from the underused Skarsgard, the pointless but pretty Decker, Rihanna (yes, the music star) proving that she can do her ‘video’ face for longer than 4 minutes and Liam Neeson. Neeson is brilliant, gets the best lines, and obviously is treating the project with the contempt it deserves before cashing the cheque. Taylor Kitsch proves here that he will be an excellent action movie star. He is adept at taking off his shirt and can look both mean and moody in one expression.
So on to the strength of the movie. Two gags. In the first the weapons that the aliens fire look like the pegs from a game of Battleships (clever eh?) and second they manage to force a situation where the Navy dudes get to say “F4. Fire” followed by the rather obvious “Miss”. It’s amazing screenwriting. I know some may consider these ‘spoilers’ but by putting them here I’m saving you nearly three hours of your life.
Battleships breaks the golden rule of action movies by being over 2 hours long (Peter Berg is not Christopher Nolan) and lacks any real character progression, personality or emotion. It’s bang, bang, crash and lots of movement and fire. The finale is an interesting take on the genre, but becomes overly patriotic and sycophantic. The performers look bored and although this lacks the desperate horror of a Michael Bay film, it is still little more than a video game on film.
Don’t count on a sequel.
- Berg takes command of ‘Battleship’ action (goerie.com)
- Battleship Babe Battle: Brooklyn Decker Vs. Rihanna [PHOTOS] (coedmagazine.com)
- Jonathan Kim: ReThink Review: Battleship: Interplanetary War on Human Eardrums (huffingtonpost.com)