Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

By now we all know that Universal is suing ‘The Asylum’ over their mockbusting ‘American Battleship’, but does anybody know why?  It’s not like anybody is going to sidestep the 200 million dollar ‘Battleship’ so they can watch the twenty dollar ‘American Battleship’.  At least I don’t think anybody would do that, but what do I know?  My next question is does Hasbro actually own the name ‘Battleship’?  I don’t think so.  I imagine the main reason for the lawsuit is to fire up flagging interest in ‘Battleship’, which I’m thinking just isn’t going to work.  Speaking of board games, I know Hasbro owns the ‘Scrabble’ trademark and if they’re interested I have an awesome concept for a ‘Scrabble’ action / thriller.  It’s hot.  But that’s neither here nor there because we have gathered around today to investigate ‘American Battleship’…. I mean ‘American Warships’… but we don’t like that title and we’re down with anarchy here at the FCU so it the movie will stay ‘American Battleship’ for all perpetuity. 

The U.S.S. Iowa is being decommissioned, shut down and turned into a floating museum.  It will be the responsibility of Captain Winston (Mario Van Peebles) to protect his skeleton crew transporting this vessel to its final destination as well as the civilians on board handling the restoration.  And everything was going just peachy until that weird looking stealth ship, suspected to be North Korean, started blowing destroyers out of the sky and short circuiting F-16’s with their awesome EMP technology.  This Is War! 

North Korean Stealth ship?  Seriously?  Well, intelligence officer Lt. Caroline Bradley (Johanna Watts) claims this isn’t out of the realm of reality, just that it’s probably Chinese in design because she has intelligence on this stuff, you know?  Well, what Captain Winston has to do now is take an aging, not battle ready ship and chase down this alleged stealth ship he can’t see so he can stop World War III.  With no communications available.  Plus he has to do this while the admiral on board whines and whines and whines about not doing this.  Plus the intelligence officer happens to be his girlfriend and he has to worry about her too.  My man has a lot on his plate right now.

While this is going on in the Pacific… or the Atlantic… I can’t remember… at the Pentagon General McKraken (Carl Weathers) is meeting with the Secretary of Defense (Elijah Chester) to make some tough decisions.  If the North Koreans have mounted an offensive, which would be insane, then we have to nuke ‘em.   And if we nuke the North Koreans then the Chinese are going to get involved and we’ll have to nuke them too.  Then they’ll nuke us.  Then the world as we know would end.  That would suck.  Has anybody in charge of this stuff seen ‘Wargames’?  Anybody?

Good thing for us there’s a group of hardcore SEALS on board the Iowa who specialize in chasing down ships they can’t see.   Why are there Navy SEALS on board a ship destined to be decommissioned?  Apparently a lot of folks needed to hitch a ride to San Diego, which is kind of good for the planet earth and stuff, but kind of bad for them because most of them are going to die. 

Guess what?  It ain’t the North Koreans baby.  It’s stinking aliens, they have a plan, and their plan is working.  We have a plan too, and our plan involves Capt. Winston and his girlfriend coming up with something.  After they finish making out on the deck.  Hey Cap, how about a little focus over here.  Watch the aliens eat some lead.

Some of us out there watch a movie like ‘American Battleship’ like it’s a normal movie.  Expecting the same thing out of this that one would expect out of Lord of the Rings or ‘Ghosts of Girlfriends Past’ or something, and you have every right to expect this because at the end of the day it’s your time that’s on the line.  I’m just saying that I don’t do this.  I kind of grade on a curve.  So while ‘Battleship’ was a better movie than ‘American Battleship’, I expected way more from ‘Battleship’ and it fell short, where ‘American Battleship’ pretty much met expectations.  Still with me?

‘American Battleship’ starts out a little on the slow side, since the first half of the movie consists of our crew looking at and chasing nothing, or more accurately, chasing water trails… coupled with Mario van Peebles reeling off a lot of fancy nautical sounding talk, which sounded legitimate to me, but I wouldn’t know.  Still, it was a little on the dull side since chasing water trails, coupled with a lot of Carl Weathers looking super serious, isn’t a lot fun to watch. 
But around the time the first SEAL team jumped on the invisible boat and entered the lair of the squiggly aliens, now we have a movie that has officially removed itself from reality and one that has started  to pick up its pace.  Sure… it’s getting stupider by the moment… but it’s also becoming more fun to watch.  The suspect special effects are now in full gear, the overacting has kicked off into the stratosphere, composer Chris Ridenour’s majestic naval score now actually fits with what is happening on screen, and now director Thunder Levin’s movie has become something we can get with.  Hey, that’s the man’s name.

The same limitations we’ve come to expect are still here, and at this point and time we’d thought that The Asylum would’ve figured out some kind of budgetary work around to these limitations, but they haven’t so we accept them for what they are.  If you guys don’t put us to sleep, and give us some workable stupidity, we’ll be happy.  It was touch and go for a while there, but we’re pleased to say ‘American Battleship’ arose from its early doldrums and ultimately found its inner stupidity.  That’s a good thing.

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