Battleship Review

You know what would be great?

Let’s take a dated, basic yet admittedly still engaging board game and turn it into a film.

That’s pretty much how I imagine the money men at Hasbro must have pitched their idea for Battleship to Universal.

And after the runaway commercial success that other toy Hasbro turned into a scarcely believable film franchise, what could go wrong?

Well, a lot actually.

Alex Hopper is an all american dumbass. He goes to bars, drinks a lot of beer and picks up girls through outrageously stupid stunts.

He’s a stereotypical screw up with potential to burn, apparently, but doesn’t apply himself. And Stone, his older brother and respected naval officer, is tired of saving Alex’s wretched ass.

That’s right, Stone’s a real name in this Peter Berg created world. And it’s not even close to being the most ridiculous thing about Battleship.

Anyway, Stone decides enlisting his kid brother in the navy is the only way to instil some values into Hopper junior. Despite not being able to turn up on time to pretty much anything, which would be a deal breaker for any military career, Alex manages to rise to the rank of Lieutenant.

Again, not even close to the most ludicrous turn of events going on here.

Having pushed his luck once too often, our rebel without a clue is informed of his imminent and forced departure from the navy while en route to some routine military exercises.

Before Alex can return to shore for these orders to be executed, a hostile alien presence arrives on earth in response to a galactic invitation sent out by an even dumber scientist via some new fangled communication satellite.

Any navy ships that engage these superior alien counterparts are swiftly destroyed, leaving one man to rise up and lead what remains of his naval fleet against this extraterrestrial force.

Can Alex get his shit together, save the world from total annihilation as is America’s divine cinematic right and still get the girl?

Not content with ruining the good name of Transformers with the ridiculous film franchise this toy has spawned, the bean counters at Hasbro have decided to perform the same trick for their classic strategy game in Battleship.

The script and dialogue for this film is so incredibly bad on this Peter Berg helmed film that you wonder how on earth this project ever got the green light.

Clichéd, fervently patriotic platitudes to former servicemen, backed up by casual and lazy racial stereotypes harking back to pearl harbour, are trotted out in this homage to all american propaganda.

Most hilarious of which involves a slow motion walk towards the camera as retired sailors volunteer themselves into service one last time, set against the cock-rock music of AC-DC.

Although the scene where a mutilated soldier with metal legs gets into a fist fight with an alien runs it pretty close.

These resulted in unintentional laughter from the packed screening I went to, which noticeably became less densely populated as people started to stream out of this free movie within fifteen minutes of the start.

Taylor Kitsch plays the titular hero, and as with his starring role in John Carter last month, he’s a pretty likable and convincing action man. He clearly needs to learn to choose better scripts unless he wants his film career to sink without trace though.

Rihanna isn’t the worst thing in her first acting role, which says more about her company than her one dimensional character of Raikes, and Liam Neeson cameos as a man who’s looking to buy another holiday home for his retirement.

The number of zero’s on his pay cheque is the only possible reason he could have got involved in this film.

I didn’t think it possible for anyone to trump the nadir of cinema that was Transformers, but Hasbro may have outdone themselves with the dreadful Battleship.

Jonathan Campbell

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2012