DIRECTOR: Peter Berg
May Contain Spoilers!
“D-4: You sunk my battleship!”
I think of Peter Berg as the director of Very Bad Things (1998), The Kingdom (2007) and the regarded yet under-appreciated Hancock (2008), but all this after that of playing an obnoxious doctor of Chicago Hope in the late 1990’s. So, the idea of this guy, who is a reasonably decent director, doing headbanging Hasbro action, never really sat right with me.
So, Battleship, which is often written-off as a second-rate Transformers (2007) rip-off, Battleship is based on the title of the world-famous Hasbro game, Battleships, in which you blindly take shots and your opponents ships until you sink them. Battleship the movie, needed to be something more and it most defiantly was. Taylor Kitsch stars and for the first time, offers a likable performance. Most notably playing John Carter in the 2011 Disney flop, here he is a wayward and headstrong Lt. in the U.S. Navy as the annual exercise known a s RIMPAC is interrupted by the vanguard of an alien invasion.
The action in actually well adapted from the game, with the alien shells bearing a striking resemblance to the pegs used in the game, but this in turn makes the action scenes slightly comical as ships are pelted with giant pegs! But this is not meant to be a top action thriller, this is surly supposed to be fun. And it is. It’s an action film, with a tried and tested premise and a series of novel ways of adapting the simple board game to the big screen.
There is a well conceive sequence involving tracking the enemy and firing blind which is good and I feel that those who would criticise the ingenuity of the writing are doing an injustice to those who penned this. The comedy is broad, the script is filled to the brim with clichés and Transformers 4, it may well be, but it was enjoyable and witty at times. But whilst Rihanna was better than expected, though a bit in your face and Liam Neeson’s role was parred down to that of a cameo, this movie was left in the hands of Kitsch and a collection of untested and reflectively unknown actors. But having said that, my only real complaint is that it never reached the pace and level of excitement that I felt that it could or should. This wasn’t Transformers as it never quite reached those heights.
Great Saturday night family entertainment though and fir that, at least, it should not be sniffed at…