Battleship (M, 131mins) Directed by Peter Berg **
You have to admire the audacity of Hollywood. Accused of only being able to make sequels, remakes and adaptations of comics or books, they came up with a new master plan in the 1980s – looting the toy box.
But while GI Joe stuck to the legacy of his shiny-haired doll, and Clue(do) had at least Professor Plum, a verandah, and a chandelier, the one thing that ties this over-the-top 2012 action flick together , which emphasizes bomb-to-bomb, to the 80-plus-year-old board game is that it feels plastic, looks stiff (and contains a few ships).
Like the Transformers movies it clearly draws inspiration from (the alien spaceships are straight out of the Decepticons’ fall collection), this is a movie where the plot drowns in the bay, sorry, chaos.
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Our nominal hero is U.S. Navy Tactical Action Officer Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch). A former wanderer, he turned his life around with the help of his big brother Stone (Alexander Skarsgard), a career sailor, and Navy air physio Samantha (Brooklyn Decker), who both encouraged him to get away with it. commit to the cause.
However, he now faces his toughest test, asking Sam’s father for his hand in marriage. Of course, it turns out to be Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), whose dislike of Alex is cemented by a fight incident, which not only threatens Alex’s chances of getting an answer positive, but also his whole career.
Just as the Admiral is about to lower the boom, a greater threat awaits them all. Gatecrashing the annual 14-nation Rampac military exercises off the coast of Hawaii is a bunch of alien spacecraft — and they don’t exactly want to play by the usual rules of engagement.
Director Peter Berg should really stick to dark comedies and small-town dramas. While Very Bad Things and Friday Night Lights were inventive and compelling tales (presuming more commercial and similarly themed hits, The Hangover and Moneyball), his more action-oriented films, The Kingdom and Hancock, had some hard time. wrong. And here he could have met his Waterloo.
Struggling with a script (by red scribes Erich and Jon Hoeber) that both wants to quote Homer and apes Don Simpson’s (The Rock, Con Air) action plans, it can only deliver a film such as Homer Simpson could have imagined it.
There’s the product, and yes, the placement (with special emphasis on Hawaii’s great naval attraction), the stum und drang and – inevitably – someone mentions Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – twice. .
Xenophobia abounds, with Hong Kong coming in for a sledgehammer and Japanese “help” (designed to give the film a boost in international sales) handled with a heavy hand.
The actor named Neeson (Schindler’s List) looks grumpy throughout, while rookie pop diva Rihanna plays a character who appears to be the beloved child of Kylie Minogue in Street Fighter and Will Smith in Independence Day.
In my opinion, the only person to emerge with any credit is Kiwi boy John Tui. The seemingly gentle giant gives a Hulk-tastic performance as Chief Petty Officer Walter “Beast” Lynch.
Battleship is now available to stream on Netflix and Prime Video.