Saturday, August 10, 2013

American Warships review

It's Battleship vs. American Warships! (2012) I just watched American Warships on Netflix. Here's my review of the mockbuster.

In the Pacific, the American aircraft carrier Enterprise and her escorts are sunk by a mysterious stealth ship with advanced weaponry. Meanwhile in the vicinity is the battleship U.S.S, Iowa on her way to be decommissioned as a floating museum. Commanded by Captain Winston, (Mario Van Peeples)he's joined on board by historian Dr. Julia Flynn (Nikki McCauley) and intelligence officer Lt. Caroline Bradley. (Johanna Watts) Winston orders the Iowa to investigate. The stealth ship sends missiles into South Korea making the United States believe that it is coming from the North Korea. The stealth ship also attacks North Korea which leads its ally, China to accuse the United States of an attack. Okay. Got it folks? Somebody is trying to start World War III. Guess who? Dick Cheney. I kid. I keeeed the former Vice President and super neo-con. Big surprise, it's aliens. No, not the illegal ones from Mexico. The ones from outer space.

Look the big budget Battleship was one of the dumbest movies ever made. So I'm thinking that the low budget mockbuster has got to be dumber. And I was mildly surprised. Don't get me wrong. American Warships is not a good movie. The acting from the main characters is not bad. Great to see Carl Weathers again as a grim faced and worried General McKraken. But everybody else is putrid. The extras look and act like they got them off the street. Hey kid, wanna be in a movie? This problem is with the director and writer, Thunder Levin. Thunder Levin? Is that this guys real name?

Levin has an idea on how to direct. Seriously. He's got sweeping shots of jet fighters and navy ships. Did he use stock footage? And he knows how to build excitement in a movie. But he lets small things get in the way. There's a romance between Winston and Bradley that comes out of nowhere. Why? The movie's got an alien invasion. Making out during the middle of the battle is the definition of silly. It would be best to leave this romance out, maybe write her out of the script and save money for better special effects. Then the civilians who work on the ship happen to be sexy women. Look, if we're going to go there, just have a gratuitous sex scene. Then there is a meddling admiral aboard. Okay, was there a promise to an investor that he could star in the movie? The guy's not needed and bad to boot. It's the small things that sink this battleship.

As for the technical aspects. The CGI effects run from good to horrible. Jet fighters look pretty good. The alien ship looks good. The aliens look ludicrous. Okay, I appreciate that they are not humanoid. But they float around like a flying octopus. And they're badly rendered. And boy when the aliens fire their ray guns, does it look fake, especially with the fake alien explosions. Uniforms for extras look like they belong to employees at an auto shop. At least the musical score by Chris Ridenhour was good.

With a movie like this, one must look for dumb scenes for fun whether they're part of the story or part of the production. American Warships has a few. Navy SEALs blow an alien hatch with explosives and stand virtually next to the explosion. And what are Navy SEALs doing on the soon to be decomissioned Iowa? The aforementioned make out scene between Winston and Bradley. I mean he rescues her from a piece of debris and they're on the deck kissing during the middle of a sea battle! Best or should I say worse mistake. Crew members pick up debris from a destroyed alien drone. They clearly are standing on a wooden dock not a part of a battleship. My guess, is that since this was filmed on the U.S.S. North Carolina, that this scene was captured on a dock mooring the ship.

American Warships is just as bad as Battleship. Maybe that's a compliment. It's not boring but not very funny either. For that, we might have to look to Levin's screenplay for Sharknado. The grade is D.

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