Let’s be honest. You do NOT want to like this movie and nothing I say will convince you otherwise. How do I know this? because I have heard you laugh at the trailer for months now every time the title “BATTLESHIP” showed up. I also assume it’s because this is a movie based on a board game and is filmed in a style very similar to Michael Bay (TRANSFORMERS) who is someone you also like to bash. I sometimes wonder if people would be more responsive if this movie was titled something else. Maybe, maybe not. So is this a bad movie? Well, most people will think so. It all depends on what you want to get out of it. If you expect anything more than huge explosions, aliens attacking battleships, and more explosions then you are in for one hell of a disappointment. If you are like me however and have your expectations in check, I think you will find a fun and flashy summer popcorn flick that is definitely focused on fun action instead of anything serious. I’m ok with mindless action from time to time and BATTLESHIP delivers this in droves.
BATTLESHIP comes to us from director Peter Berg (HANCOCK, THE RUNDOWN) who I will admit is one of my favorite up and coming summer movie directors. He has such a wonderful sense of fun and a real eye for what it takes to make a spectacular action sequence. Sure BATTLESHIP is probably my least favorite of his films yet, but I have to hand it to the guy for making such fun movies. The plot here is pretty simple stuff and involves an an alien invasion that begins at sea. A fleet of battleships happen upon mysterious alien crafts during an annual naval war game exercise and it is up to them to thwart the mysterious aliens and their destructive plans. Pretty simple mindless stuff here. Again, Shakespeare this is not.
BATTLESHIP stars Taylor Kitsch (JOHN CARTER), Alexander Skarsgard (TRUE BLOOD), and Brooklyn Decker (JUST GO WITH IT). We even get appearances from Rihanna in her first significant acting role and the always amazing Liam Neeson (THE GREY). Wow, I never thought I would write Rihanna and Liam Neeson in the same sentence. Twice! Sure there are a crap ton of other actors here and there in this film, but these are just the mainstays. They all do a decent enough job with their roles and I admit the hijinks that Kitsch’s character got into in the beginning of the film had me chucking a bit. It was so ridiculous that it was funny to me. Kitsch is a really great screen presence and he really helps move this film forward with a character you can like. All in all, the characters are likable and never distract with poor performances. Yes, even Rihanna did a fine job here in her pretty small role. Nothing great, but not distractingly bad as I had anticipated.
Alright so the story is typical summer movie stuff (yes it is pretty cheesy at times) and the characters serviceable. The real reason I, or anyone for that matter, should be buying a ticket to this film is for relentless summer movie action. This is where the film delivers. Now I will admit that the consequences of the action don’t really matter because you are not really invested in the story or the characters. While that can be a problem in most movies it really does not matter here because it is all so mindless. I believe it is mindless on purpose which is what most people will not understand. Much like the films SUCKER PUNCH and even INDEPENDENCE DAY, this movie is just about fun, grand explosions, and a bad ass moment or two for good measure. There were a couple of “wow” moments to be had here including a cool city destruction sequence and a battleship capsizing with its crew still on board. There were definitely some fun moments to be had for those that left their brain at the door. You can tell Berg has a passion for these lumbering warships and never missed an opportunity to showcase the beauty of a ship or commemorate the officers on board. Basically what I’m saying is that BATTLESHIP delivers some good mindless action.
What this all boils down to are expectations. If you want a fun mindless summer action movie then BATTLESHIP definitely delivers. You just have to keep an open mind. Sure it can be corny, sure it lacks a great story and characters, but I never expected that. I expected cool action sequences involving battleships and aliens and that’s just what I got. In the end, BATTLESHIP was a fun summer ride filled with cool action sequences that feature aliens and battleships. Nothing more, nothing less.
Final Score: 7 out of 10