By John Beifuss
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