Now Battleship looked very much like an imitation of a Michael Bay film (Transformers leapt to mind from the trailers), despite it coming from Peter Berg who in my mind was responsible for the wonderfully dark and adult Very Bad Things. But to American audiences was probably more well known for Friday Night Lights and Hancock. And to horror buffs he’s the “actor” who went up against Mitch Pileggi in Wes Craven’s Shocker!
Quite a varied background then?
So when Battleship came along – really it could be anyone’s guess what may happen. But then with a scowl and a groan it became all to evident very quickly that it is in fact every bit the Bay-esque romp we were all expecting.
So Taylor kitsch (in his second big blockbuster of the year following John Carter) plays your typically unsympathetic young, drunk, barfly, lady-loving bad boy with a penchant for getting tasered by the local police. Of course when someone behaves this badly what do you do with them? Send them to the Navy of course!
Yup into the Navy with him, and before you know it he is working hard but still with that bad boy streak about him. And oddly he seems to be working at a level way above your typical seaman. In fact he’s just a few steps away from the top position on the boat which makes for a head scratching logic flaw. But then again he is there thanks to his big brother (Alexander Skarsgard). So I guess the rule of “who you know” and not “what you know” actually applies.
Anyway – after being introduced to all the boys (of which Liam Neeson is easily the best, and most underused) and girls (of which Rihanna is the more physically unbelievable) the ships set sail for the usual combat manoeuvres routine only for a bunch of alien ships to land in the ocean (the back story of which is too dull to go into). Up pop a few nasties intent on playing, well, Battleships with our fleet and the action starts.
And it is around this time that the film really starts to get silly, dull and then just plain ridiculous. The logic in the aliens’ plan seems to make very little sense when clearly all they have to do is get a little more trigger happy on us. The supporting characters are all very contrived and often clichéd (Yes the computer nerd back on land just happens to have big curly hair, a huge nose and dark rimmed glasses?).
Battleship is probably closest to Armageddon in that it opens with some fun character introductions and story setting, but all too quickly falls into ropey dialogue (and oh boy there are some clunkers), misjudged cheesy affection towards the military and plain old terrible story-telling.
One can only hope that Battleship gets sunk at the box office before anyone has the bright idea of a sequel. The film may be good to laugh at and then “really” laugh at – but that aside it will have very poor replay value afterwards.