Battleship is a bad film – a cynical, corporate behemoth carrying a cargo of parts nicked from films like Armageddon, Independence Day and Transformers, and fueled by some shameless paycheckery from the likes of Neeson and Rihanna. The USS Hasbro. We knew this was going to be bad. But despite all it's faults (and Lord, they are legion), Battleship manages to be stupidly entertaining.
The plot is as simple as it comes: aliens arrive in massive spaceships and land off the coast of Hawaii, where the Navy just happen to be conducting military exercises. The aliens put up a force field bubble thing and the scene is set for an epic maritime face-off that drags on and on for 130 minutes. Battleship is directed by Peter Berg, but it’s infused with so much Michael Bay DNA that if you sent a Terminator back in time to eliminate Bay’s mother this film would cease to exist. The only difference is the cripplingly unfunny, self-harm inducing “comedy” scenes from the Transformers films are gone, which is a relief.
The cast are actually fine. Kitsch is likeable enough, coming off the back of John Carter – a box office wreck currently rusting at the bottom of the Atlantic. Rihanna’s casting is no more ridiculous than the Abercrombie models that pass for Marines in the Transformers movies, but she’s given little more to do than mumble one-liners as she fires big guns. Neeson is gruff and stoic, obviously, although he disappears for most of the film. We spent the second half waiting for him to return and shout: “You sunk my battleship!” but it never happened.
The eight-foot-tall aliens do that 12A/PG-13 thing of backhanding people non-lethally against walls, instead of squishing their puny human heads like grapes. And in a very “interesting” creative decision, when they remove their helmets they are revealed to be bald ... with BEARDS. I swear I’m not joking. If you want a rough idea what they look like, Google “travolta from paris with love”.
So yes, Battleship has its "faults" ... a silly script, a nonsense plot, clunky dialogue, stupid aliens and plotholes you could drive a battleship through (as if the Missouri, a museum ship, would have live ammunition on board). But hey, who cares when we've got BIG guns and massive explosions. It's complete and utter tosh, but man, it's entertaining tosh.
EXTRAS ★★ Text An alternative ending (7:33); a tour of the USS Missouri (20:10); Preparing For Battle (11:09); Engage in Battle (6:58); All hands on Deck (11:40); Commander Pete (5:46); The Visual Effects of Battleship (11:30); and a trailer for the Battleship video game.