x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Battleship is little more than a recruitment film for the US Navy

Usually closer in tone to the dumb fun of Independence Day than Transformers, Battleship offers several genuinely exciting action sequences that help make up for Kitsch¿s hardly-enthralling lead performance.

Battleship
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker
**

Pitting US Navy vessels against giant alien spaceships, this adaptation of Hasbro's board game looked like "Transformers at Sea" ever since the first trailer dropped.

But while Peter Berg's mega-budget action movie avoids many of the pitfalls of Michael Bay's excruciating and offensive robot franchise, it finds plenty of new ways to plumb the depths of stupidity. It follows the former slacker Alex (Kitsch), who has attempted to gain some direction in life by joining his brother (Skarsgård) in the Navy.

During a huge international maritime exercise off the coast of Hawaii, we learn that aliens with technology light years ahead of our own are hiding in the ocean, preparing to take the Earth by force.

When they establish a giant energy shield around their ships, Alex is onboard one of the small number of Navy vessels caught inside the perimeter, and the unconventional thinker is forced to devise novel ways of outsmarting the heavily armed attackers. Cue plenty of C4, F11, A9-style target shooting and other moments of toe-curling preposterousness.

Usually closer in tone to the dumb fun of Independence Day than Transformers, Battleship offers several genuinely exciting action sequences that help make up for Kitsch's hardly enthralling lead performance, (the less said about Rihanna's acting debut the better).

In its second half, however, the movie blows any goodwill it has gained out of a 15m cannon, when it becomes a little more than deafeningly loud recruitment film for the US Navy.

Eventually, Berg's constant eroticising of military hardware and awkward attempts at eulogising veterans and wounded crewman may lead you to suspect he has designs on becoming the next US secretary of defence.