“It's An Attack Of The Flying Yo-yos, Pass The Popcorn, Please.”
April 10th, 2012
"BATTLESHIP" opens with an introduction to Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch aka 'John Carter'), a brash young man who pulls all sorts of stunts without thinking first. This is especially so when he wants to impress a pretty lass named Samantha (Brooklyn Decker) who happens to be the daughter of US Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson). To get him out of trouble, his brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard) enlists him into the US Navy - where his reckless behaviour gets him into even more trouble.
In real life, Alex would be deemed a regular jackass but to Hollywood script-writers, he has all the qualifications of the 'reluctant hero' in their action fantasies. This 'heroic turnaround' happens during a huge naval exercise in Hawaii when critters from a distant planet attack Earth with much superior weapons. Teaming up with other unlikely heroes like Petty Officer Cora Raikes (Rihanna), Capt Nagata (Tadanobu Asano) and crew mate Ordy (Jesse Plemons), Lt Hopper puts all his skills to the test to save the world!
The action set pieces here are not as awesome as last year's "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" but the early scenes of crashing buildings and exploding battleships are convincing enough to put the point across that the world is being invaded. Director Peter Berg heightens the excitement by showing the point-of-view of the aliens as they prepare to shoot - and the 'flying yo-yo' weapons of the aliens produce extensive destruction for maximum visual impact.
Berg rightly anchors the story on its characters, providing humorous glimpses of how some people react to the alien threat. Of course, we get the feeling that we are missing the 'big picture' because the action is concentrated only on a handful of individuals. We don't get to see how others are affected by the massive destruction elsewhere. These are just mentioned on the TV news.
It is interesting that Kitsch is starring in two of this year's most expensive movies: John Carter (at US$250 million) and Battleship ($200 million). However, unlike John Carter, Kitsch has a better and more developed role here. His Alex is a bit of a caricature - and Kitsch plays him with the requisite touch of humour. Neeson provides the 'veteran thespian' stature to the proceedings as the no-nonsense Admiral while Decker has the eye-candy role even if she is not as sexily decked out as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in "Transformers: Dark Of The Moon".
Singer Rihanna is unimpressive as Raikes - a role similar to Michele Rodriguez's Trudy in "Avatar". Maybe she does not have good lines - but then most of the dialogue here are sloppy. Also, in order to enjoy the action, we have to overlook the numerous plot holes and suspend disbelief a great deal, especially near the end where we are to accept that a famous 70-year-old battleship can be recommissioned to do heavy battle in just a matter of hours.
THE VERDICT: Hey, everything up on the screen is silly, but "Battleship" is guilty fun and the effects are awesome! Now, will you pass the popcorn, please? Full review at limchangmoh.blogspot.com