The battle for Earth begins at sea in this epic action-adventure starring Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker and Liam Neeson. An international naval coalition becomes the world’s last hope for survival as they engage a hostile alien force of unimaginable strength. Ripping across sea, sky and land, Battleship is “a big bold blast” (MSN Movies), packed with spectacular visual effects and explosive action.
Following the success of Transformers and G.I. Joe, Hasbro brings another of its beloved properties to the big screen, with explosive and cheerfully improbable results. The situation: Aliens splash down outside Hawaii, surrounding the islands with an impenetrable force field and wreaking havoc on the captive population. While the world outside watches helplessly, a skeleton crew of naval officers and civilians (led by Taylor Kitsch's cocky washout and Rihanna's weapons expert) must figure out a way to save the planet while being seriously outgunned. Director Peter Berg, whose previous films The Rundown and Hancock displayed a playful tweaking of genre conventions, keeps things surprisingly high and tight here, depicting military tactics and the chain of command with an honest respect, including casting actual combat veterans in pivotal supporting roles. While such a reverent approach is certainly admirable, it coexists uneasily with the inherent goofiness of the premise, particularly during the climactic scene where the heroes sit down in front of a grid and, yes, fire a missile at B7. (Note: Nobody actually gets to say "You sunk my battleship," but Liam Neeson, in an extended cameo as an admiral, sure looks like he wants to.) However, while the narrative might be missing a few pieces, Berg's film undeniably delivers the action-movie goods, staging a number of all-out combat scenes with verve and ingenuity. (Special kudos to whoever designed the main weapon of the aliens, a razor-toothed sphere of gears that chews up the scenery with a tangible sense of delight.) Audiences looking for coherence may need to keep on looking, but Battleship definitely sports the maximum number of bangs for the summer-movie buck. Bring on Kerplunk: The Motion Picture. --Andrew Wright