Lowering your expectations for a movie based on a video game is a good start, but disappointingly BATTLESHIP is a by-the-numbers sci-fi action movie that belongs as a B-movie on SyFy channel’s Saturday night cheese line-up.
Director Peter Berg has given us some competent fare (HANCOCK, THE KINGDOM, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS), so I’m a little surprised that BATTLESHIP seems to be a movie on autopilot.
It’s TOP GUN meets INDEPENDENCE DAY with a smidge of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Taylor Kitsch, fresh off his JOHN CARTER bomb, plays Alex Hopper, the impetuous wildcard of a kid brother to by-the-book Stone Hopper played by Alexander Skargard. Both brothers serve in the Navy around Hawaii, and hothead Alex is just about to be kicked out thanks to some unruly behavior.
Rounding out the cast is singer Rihanna who plays a Petty Officer and the imperious Liam Neeson as the Admiral.
The movie begins with a naval ceremony on the decommissioned Battleship Missouri. Battleships are old school, replaced by high tech destroyers, but if you know anything about GALACTICA or INDEPENDENCE DAY, sometimes old school technology can kick alien ass.
BATTLESHIP’s fortunes depend on the charisma of its star Taylor Kitsch, and frankly, he’s no Tom Cruise with the high wattage appeal and swagger from TOP GUN. Nor does Kitsch have the screen presence of a steely determined Aaron Eckhart in BATTLE LOS ANGELES. Hopefully Kitsch will fare better in his next project – the Oliver Stone movie, SAVAGES, opposite Aaron Johnson.
Special effects are TRANSFORMERS-cool where the aliens have warships that skip the water like a giant jet-ski, and weapons that look like yo-yos with razor blades. The end result is a passable popcorn movie. heavy on patriotism with nudge and wink references to the classic board game.
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