Bat­tle­ship is more miss than hit

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Bat­tle­ship Star­ring Tay­lor Kitsch, Brook­lyn Decker, Ri­hanna, Liam Nee­son, Alexan­der Skars­gard, Jesse Ple­mons. Screen­play by Erich Hoe­ber, Jon Hoe­ber. Di­rected by Peter Berg. 131 min­utes, rated M (vi­o­lence, of­fen­sive lan­guage). Show­ing at Read­ing Cine­mas Porirua. When I first eyed Tay­lor Kitsch in the mas­ter­ful tele­vi­sion show Fri­day Night Lights I knew that Hol­ly­wood would court him sooner or later.

As well-in­ten­tioned screw-up Timmy Rig­gins, Kitsch knew how to be a black sheep, heart­throb and dam­aged goods all at the same time – an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent in a mod­ern ac­tion hero. It’s just a shame Kitsch can’t pick his projects bet­ter.

He was solid as the mu­tant Gam­bit in the God-aw­ful Wolver­ine flick, and his ‘‘love­able rogue’’ act in John Carter, and now Bat­tle­ship, has re­mained en­gag­ing enough to sug­gest he can get away with repris­ing the same char­ac­ter again and again and not lose ap­peal. Bruce Wil­lis has been the mas­ter of this.

Nev­er­the­less, John Carter was a mud­dled dis­ap­point­ment and Bat­tle­ship is worse.

It is be­yond me how any­one thought it a good idea to link an alien in­va­sion movie to the old Mil­ton Bradley boardgame.

The game in­volved a lot of lit­tle red and white pegs and was heaps of fun, but even the elec­tronic ver­sion with its sound ef­fects and com­put­erised co- or­di­nates will seem ar­chaic to gen­er­a­tion Xbox – who are most def­i­nitely the tar­get au­di­ence of the some­time­sen­ter­tain­ing but at- all- timesab­surd Bat­tle­ship.

Other than some amus­ingly peg- like mis­siles and a fiveminute se­quence where a be­lea­guered navy crew uses an elec­tronic grid to lo­cate and fire on the alien ves­sels, I have no idea what Univer­sal got for its li­cens­ing fee.

Kitsch likely signed on as navy cap­tain Alex Hop­per to re­pay a debt he owed di­rec­tor Peter Berg, who cre­ated Fri­day Night Lights.

Berg tries to take the best of In­de­pen­dence Day and Top Gun (sub­sti­tut­ing de­stroy­ers for jet planes) and make box-of­fice magic – but the plot and char­ac­ter mo­ti­va­tions are fa­tally hack­neyed.

Hop­per joins the navy at the be­hest of brother Stone ( Alexan­der Skars­gard), who is sick of his lit­tle brother’s me­an­der­ing ways. He has the smarts to go far, but his hot head gets him into trou­ble

He is on the verge of be­ing kicked out of the navy and to make mat­ters worse, his fleet com­man­der is also the fa­ther of the girl he wants to marry. Lucky for Hop­per, there’s noth­ing like an alien in­va­sion to test one’s ap­ti­tude and prove one’s worth.


Liam Nee­son plays Ad­mi­ral Shane, who does noth­ing but gri­mace and shout into a ra­dio. Brook­lyn Decker, the girl­friend, at least gets a side mis­sion, try­ing to stop the aliens from call­ing for re­in­force­ments, and pop star Ri­hanna, as one of the crew, serves more pur­pose in the pro­mo­tional posters than in the movie.

To its credit, Bat­tle­ship doesn’t take it­self too se­ri­ously, but at more than two hours in du­ra­tion and with noth­ing to dis­tin­guish it­self – bar its ma­rine set­ting and Kitsch’s ap­peal – from the plethora of Cgi-laden alien in­va­sion movies, te­dium swells.

As for Kitsch, he should be back on our screens again be­fore the end of the year in Oliver Stone’s drug war thriller Sav­ages. Hope­fully it’s a case of third time lucky as a lead­ing man.

Game on: ‘‘You sunk my bat­tle­ship!’’ Tay­lor Kitsch has to save the world from aliens and win his fu­ture fa­ther-in­law’s re­spect in the hare-brained, slightly boardgame-in­spired

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