By John Bei­fuss

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - Go See - / bei­fuss@com­mer­cialap­peal.com

A PRO­DUC­TION OF HAS­BRO (in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Univer­sal Stu­dios), “Bat­tle­ship” is a $200 mil­lion mil­i­tary-hard­ware sci­ence-fic­tion ac­tion epic in­spired by a board game played with tiny plas­tic pegs and minia­ture toy boats.

Can “Fris­bee,” in which fly­ing discs from outer space va­por­ize Man­hat­tan, and “Op­er­a­tion,” a hor­ror movie in which a mad sci­en­tist tor­tures his vic­tim’s “funny bone” and “bread bas­ket,” be far be­hind?

Let’s hope so. Has­bro’s fol­low-up to the sim­i­larly wacko (if not Wham-o) “Trans­form­ers” and “G.I. Joe” movies, “Bat­tle­ship” is tor­pe­doed by cliché, il­logic and id­iocy. A for­giv­ing viewer, how­ever, may won­der if there’s method in its mo­ronity: Cree­dence Clear­wa­ter Re­vival’s clas­sic 1969 anti-war song, “For­tu­nate Son,” blares over the end cred­its, as if in veiled in­sult to the au­di­ence mem­bers who cheered the movie’s

★★✩✩ Hol­ly­wood­ized war­mon­ger­ing.

With its ref­er­ence to “star-span­gled eyes,” “For­tu­nate Son” — like Bruce Spring­steen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” — is fre­quently mis­un­der­stood, and is some­times played at pa­tri­otic ral­lies by clue­less event or­ga­niz­ers. Could “Bat­tle­ship” be sim­i­larly sly? Has di­rec­tor Peter Berg (whose “Han­cock” tweaked and twisted the su­per­hero genre) pulled a fast one on his em­ploy­ers, de­liv­er­ing a satir­i­cal cri­tique of U.S. mil­i­tarism dis­guised as a chest-thump­ing cel­e­bra­tion of Amer­i­can fire­power?

That might ex­plain the in­com­pe­tence of the nom­i­nal hero, long­haired ne’er- do -well

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