DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: May 18, 2012
Rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of violence, action and destruction, and for language)
Genre: Action, Adventure
Run Time: 131 min.
Director: Peter Berg
Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, Tadanobu Asano, Jesse Plemons, Gregory D. Gadson, Adam Godley, Hamish Linklater, Peter MacNicol

The summer movie season started with a bang two weeks ago, as Marvel’s The Avengers demonstrated how a skilled writer and director (Joss Whedon) could elevate material that, according to earlier entries in the Marvel series, made for little more than mechanical filmmaking. What could have been crass, two-dimensional material instead was lively, fun and full of energy.

Battleship, directed by Peter Berg (Hancock, The Kingdom) and written by Erich and Jon Hoeber (who wrote the awful Whiteout), is closer to the soulless action filmmaking we’ve come to expect from big summer movies. Like earlier hit films based on products from toymaker Hasbro—Transformers and G.I. JoeBattleship (inspired by the classic board game of the same name) is full of sound and fury, signifying very little other than the ability to astonish, then pulverize, audiences with intense scenes of massive destruction. Still, it’s impressive in its own way, and will appeal to audiences who can tolerate the voluble, violent, high-stakes battle at the center of the film.

That battle is a long time coming. Battleship takes its time establishing its characters and their relationships. There’s Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch, John Carter), a bad boy who can’t seem to straighten up, even as his brother (Alexander Skarsgård, Melancholia), commanding officer of the USS Sampson, tries to model responsible behavior. Alex would rather hang out at the bar and woo lookers like Sam (Brooklyn Decker, Just Go with It), demonstrating his foolishness by promising to acquire a burrito for her, even if that means breaking into a convenience store and trying to outrun the cops.