Movie Reviews

'Battleship': Waterlogged

By Zaki JufriMovies - 12 April 2012 3:30 PM | Updated 13 April 2012

'Battleship': Waterlogged

"USD$200 million and all we got are 2 stars?"

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The Stars: Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Tadanobu Asano, Taylor Kitsch, Jesse Plemons

The Buzz: Based on a classic board game of the same name.

The Story: A fleet of US Navy and Japanese ships are on a war games exercise when something mysterious lands in the water. Based on the Hasbro board game ‘Battleship’ is an actioner which sees Earth being attacked by aliens… again. And no, seriously, this movie is inspired by that same game you played as a kid. thinks: There are many reasons to watch ‘Battleship’ but the plot is not one of them. But what it lacks in terms of a cogent plot and storyline, it makes up for it in spades with pure entertainment.

So how does one adapt a board game based on battling battleships (one where you stick pegs into holes) into a compelling movie? You add hundreds of navy destroyers, a strike force of belligerent extra-terrestrials, a couple of hotties, lean on Liam Neeson for respectability and set it alight.

The result is a two-hour soup-ed up shoot ‘em up, blow ‘em up action flick set in the high seas.

Fresh from battling aliens on Mars, Taylor Kitsch ditches the He-Man outfit for spiffy naval whites. Kitsch plays Alex Hopper, a boozy underachiever and brother to decorated naval officer Stone Hopper (Alexander Skarsgard) who drafts him into the navy after a run in with the authorities.

During a series of off-shore naval exercises, the brothers find themselves in the middle of an interstellar battle with an aggressive alien scouting-force from the ‘Planet G’, where the navy are seriously outgunned.

Stranded in the middle of the Pacific with their new alien buddies, the Hopper brothers find themselves in a struggle for survival (what else), with the impending outcome vital to the survival of mankind (big surprise there).

Part ‘Independence Day’ and part ‘Transformers’ , we seriously think that ‘Battleship’ is director Peter Berg’s (‘Friday Night Lights’, ‘Hancock’) ode to Michael Bay or ‘Bayhem’ -- the sweeping score, the slo-mo money shots, patriotic talk and all that blowing shit up.

Kitsch is turning out to be a true blue action star in his second big screen outing this year; showing off his hero chops with aplomb. When some navy ships got wiped out, it is up to the younger Hopper brother to step onto the plate and take charge; guiding a ship and crew made up of Petty Officer Cora Raikes (an unrecognisable yet still hot looking Rihanna in her big screen debut), Japanese navy captain Nagata (Tadanobu Asano) and Ordy (Jesse Plemons).

For an action piece such as this, character development is definitely not high on the cards. The scant character development is not enhanced by the film’s directorial style that’s just sufficient to advancing the narrative.

What carries the movie forward are the awesome visual effects and the explosive action set pieces — the reptilian aliens (which reminds of us of the ‘Halo’ game characters), the really cool ships that put the Autobots’ to shame as well as the filmmaker’s ability to shoehorn the analogue format of the Battleship board game into the movie’s complex battle sequences.

But what tops this ultimate cheese-fest is the movie’s final act which piles on more of the jingoistic flag-waving.

In a somewhat unashamed, unapologetic tribute to navy vets, the now ship-less Hopper and crew commandeer a decommissioned ship (complete with geriatric crew) to fight the aliens. This is the part where the filmmakers seem to have left all sense of logic ashore: why in the world would a decommissioned battleship-turned museum carry live ammunition?

Of course in blockbuster Hollywood movie world, nothing needs to make sense.

While ‘Battleship’ scores high on entertainment value, we think, even the brains-off crowd will find the movie too incredulous to enjoy.