<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 30, 2012

Movie Review: Battleship - A dumb popcorn flick

AFTER STARRING in the monumental flop, “John Carter”, Canadian actor Taylor Kitsch stars in his second bid for Hollywood stardom in “Battleship”, an action movie based on an old Hasbro board game (not a video game as some writers wrote). He plays the unlikely hero, Hopper, a long-haired underachiever with an attitude problem who, in the opening sequence, breaks into a store just to steal a burrito and impress a sexy blonde, Sam (Brooklyn Decker.)

Despite his foolish misbehaviour, he gets recruited by the US Navy through his brother (Alexander Skaarsgard of “True Blood”). The US Navy actually helped out in making this movie and some of their sailors even appeared as extras.

This is an alien invasion flick and the invaders learn about us when some scientists put up huge radio transmitters in the mountains of Hawaii. Their signal was picked up by aliens and a huge towering monolith reminiscent of Transformers comes through the atmosphere and gets planted into the middle of the Hawaiian waters. The first parts of the movie are mostly “daldalan” portion and really drag on and on. The characters show no alarming sense of immediacy even after the coming of the aliens who put up a solid barrier in the water to protect their mother ship and isolate the Navy ships surrounding them. Best example is Burrito Girl Sam who sees the alien ship crashing into the ocean along with the legless war vet and they don’t even get upset by it. They just keep on hiking in the mountains.

Hopper and all his companions are eventually transformed to become heroes, including the Japanese captain (Tadanobu Asano) who he earlier had a fight with. It’s important to have a Japanese character since the story is set in Hawaii and we should remember Pearl Harbor. The Americans and the Japanese were enemies then. Now, they’re allies up against the aliens.

Other characters are Liam Neeson in a small role as the admiral who happens to be the dad of Hopper’s girlfriend, the war veteran with a pair of robot legs, and Rihanna in her acting debut as ass-kicking Petty Officer Raikes who has water-proof make up.

The aliens are computer generated and have faces that look like snakes but covered by a robotic helmet ala-Power Rangers. If the aliens in Mel Gibson’s “Signs” are afraid of water, they are afraid of sunlight. Peter Berg has directed some good flicks before, like “The Kingdom” and “Friday Night Lights” but he has come up with a dud this time that picks up only when the actual 70-year old battleship USS Missouri with its crew of ancient mariners is finally activated to have a face-off with the aliens, with Hooper directing them on what they should do.

The problem is Taylor Kitsch is not of the stuff that leading men are made of. It’s really a surprise that he’s given the lead role in big-budgeted action spectacles like this and “John Carter”, both of which are tedious viewing. “Independence Day” is also an alien invasion move but it’s definitely much more exciting to watch, unlike this one where the action confined at sea and inside ships makes it look so isolated, especially when you think of the fact that it runs for more than two hours in limited surroundings!

One exciting sequence shows the aliens unleashing gigantic rotating spheres that demolishes everything in its path, including helicopters in an airfield and various motor vehicles in the freeways. Then there’s the climax staging the biggest battle with the mother alien ship. And that’s about it.

The most positive thing we can say about it is that it pays homage to paraplegics and grizzled war vets. But the whole epilogue sequence showing Hopper getting a medal and finally mustering the courage to ask Sam’s hand from her admiral dad is all anti-climactic. “Battleship” is the start of the big summer releases in the U.S. If this were an indication of the dumb popcorn flicks they have in store for us, well, it certainly doesn’t look very promising.