By Wilson Morales
Every summer we get a film that is plain silly, filled with lots of action and dialogue that any non-screenwriter could have put together. And for whatever reason, either you are smart enough to know that going into the film and enjoy the ride or you’re clueless and you come out disappointed that the film didn’t live up to your expectations. That being said, we have the new alien film, ‘Battleship,’ starring today’s ‘it’ boy Taylor Kitsch (‘John Carter’), model Brooklyn Decker, and R & B singer Rihanna, making her film debut.
Using Michael Bay’s formula (‘it’ boy Shia LaBeouf, singer Tyrese, and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), with the exception of Liam Neesom (who must have needed a quick paycheck for a small role), along with a lackadaisical script, what you have is a film mixed with similar scenes to ‘Armageddon,’ ‘Pearl Harbor,’ and ‘Transformers.’ When Bay is unavailable to do the job, Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights, Hancock, The Kingdom) is the guy they called to direct. Sadly, if you needed a film to go along with the lame alien film ‘Skyline,’ ‘‘Battleship’ is the perfect companion.
Based on the Hasbro commercial board game that many of us probably grew up on, unless you were into Monopoly or Parcheesi, we meet Stone Hopper (True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgård), who’s always watching his little brother Alex’s (Taylor Kitsch from TV’s Friday Night Lights) back, even when Alex is totally out of character and drunk. When Alex gets into trouble trying to woo a woman named Sam (Brooklyn Decker) he met a bar, Stone decides that the best discipline Alex can get to mature to join him in the Navy. Cut to six years later, Alex, who’s now a Lieutenant, and Sam, who coincidentally happens to be the daughter of Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson) are now a couple. Alex is working the courage to talk to her dad about marrying her. This happens as they converge in Hawaii for some naval war games called RIMPAC with other colleagues and a Japanese officer, Captain Yugi Nagata (Tadanobu Asano).
In the meantime, the government had developed a super satellite to send out signals to another universe, and low and behold, something responded back. Instead of getting some friendly welcome, a couple of alien spacecraft have made their way to Earth and isolated a portion of the ocean where the naval games are being held. As Alex and Stone go check out it, with Admiral Shane cut out from the excitement, these alien ships start firing and killing at anything to poses a threat.
Along with his gunning mate, Petty Officer Cora ‘Weps’ Raikes (Rihanna) and Captain Yugi Nagata, Alex and Stone try their best to fend off these alien ships from destroying the Earth, while Sam, who’s a physical therapist and hiking with Lieutenant Colonel Mick Canales (played by real-life Army vet and amputee Gregory D. Gadson) try to do what they can to help scientist Cal Zapata (Hamish Linklater) distract the aliens from using the high powered satellites from contacting home.
‘Battleship’ is the type of film where you go in checking your brain at the door. Seriously! From that perspective, you’ll get what you paid for. Peter Berg, who worked with Kitsch on the TV, knows what he had when he took the assignment, and wasn’t looking to add depth to the story. The action should sell the film, but the problem is that there isn’t enough and there’s no emotion to them. While there’s a scene or two involving battle strategies like the game, it’s one-sided. In her film debut, Rihanna has more to do than anyone expected, and while she’s not playing a singer, it’s not like she was handed a script with Shakespeare dialogue. For what she does, she’s actually decent in her role. The jury is still out on whether she should stick to her day job. Neesom and Skarsgård are marketing selling points in the same way Steven Segal was in ‘Executive Decision.’
Overall, ‘Battleship’ is worth seeing if you go in for total fantasy escapism.