Today is Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Battleship sunk by lackluster action, storytelling

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Once the Naval war games start, where many nations are participating, alien spaceships land in the ocean and create an impenetrable dome, trapping the Hopper brothers and another small ship inside.

From here, the action takes precedent, which is actually not as interesting as you might hope. Of course, theres plenty of complicated and technical CGI work, but the alien antagonists are not developed at all.

Nods to the board game include the aliens using explosive ammunition that looks exactly like the plastic pegs you place on hit ships in the game. They also hit a ship, dig into them a little bit and then explode.

Also, while the highly advanced Naval ships equipment is knocked out, the heroes have to rely on ocean buoys to detect where the enemies are on a grid. Of course this turns into the sailors choosing random points, then declaring, hit or miss accordingly.

I actually found those two instances some of the most creative aspects of the movie that had pretty much nothing else to go on, other than the name Battleship. However the movie continued with explosions, ships sinking and general lackluster performances by the crew.

Kitsch could be any other hotshot action character who must learn how to lead others or figure out that you cant be a rolling stone forever. Stone Hopper is interesting enough inasmuch as Skarsgard plays the accomplished Naval officer convincingly.

Supporting cast members including Rihanna as Petty Officer Cora Raikes and Brooklyn Decker as Alexs love interest, Samantha Shane, are forgetful and Liam Neeson, playing Admiral Shane is there just to deliver formal speeches.

I will give the film credit for using many real U.S. Navy personnel in the filming, albeit in background roles where they blend in with actors when they only speak the military lingo that is their true vocabulary while at their posts.

U.S. Army veteran and double-amputee Col. Gregory D. Gadson plays the films most interesting character, Lt. Col. Mick Canales. He is a recovering double amputee in Hawaii who seems pretty jaded, or down on his condition.

His physical therapist Samantha convinces him to go hiking where they eventually encounter alien ground forces attempting to phone home as one of the other throw-away characters so eloquently states.

Mick leads the fight to disable the communications and in a way, overcomes his disability to maintain his leadership, honor and desire to protect ones country.

Battleship suffers from serving up an enemy that neither the audience, nor the characters on screen know anything about. Alien invasion is nothing knew, so in order for the audience to be concerned at all with your version, something has to stand out. Unfortunately, nothing does with Battleship.

A faceless, endless hoard of enemies is convincing when it is ruled or led by sinister, interesting villains. Think back to Star Wars Stormtroopers that are as generic as they come, but Darth Vader is one of the great villains of our time.

Unfortunately, Battleship offered no polarizing or menacing villain and as a result, its action was more or less boring. Tension was probably highest during the previously mentioned scene where characters play the board game in real life.

Director Peter Berg certainly didnt have much to work with from writers Erich and Jon Hoeber, but everyone involved knew what they were getting into when signing up for a film based on a board game.

I heard there was an after-credits teaser scene, but wasnt willing to stick around for more.

Battleship is rated PG-13 and is currently playing in local theaters with a runtime of 131 minutes.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at

Also, check back here this weekend for a review of "Men in Black 3" which opens Friday, May 25.

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