Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Taylor Kitsch

Directed by Peter Berg
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1
Community: star rating
5 1 0
May 17, 2012

Confession: I'm usually in Peter Berg's corner. Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom and Hancock all show a director with a wild streak Hollywood can't totally tame. But Battleship, based on Hasbro's naval-combat game, shows Berg trying to transform into demon box-office machine Michael Bay. Can you aim lower? Battleship is all noise and crashing metal, sinking to the shallows of Bay's Armageddon and then digging to the brain-extinction level of the Transformers trilogy.

No wonder the cast gives up on acting. It's not that screenwriting brothers Erich and Jon Hoeber (Red) don't put words in their mouths. The problem is, they do. "I've got a bad feeling about this," says Alex Hooper (Taylor Kitsch), a Navy lieutenant stationed in Oahu, Hawaii, who gets caught up in an alien invasion at sea. Alex is a screw-up. He's dating Sam (Brooklyn Decker), the hottie daughter of the admiral (Liam Neeson) who hates him. And he knows his captain brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgård), is a way-better hardass. So while Sam stays on land with paraplegic Army veteran Mick (real-life Iraq hero Gregory D. Gadson) to make sure these E.T.s don't phone home, Alex and his weapons specialist (Rihanna, of all people) take aim at the muthafuckers. Actually it's just "muthas," thanks to a PG-13 rating. Berg panders shamelessly for the big finish, enlisting the real WWII battleship USS Missouri, and its old-school crew. Way to go, Battleship: Take the crassest of cynical junk, slather it in jingoism and sell it as rah-rah fun for right-wingers.

• Peter Travers' Summer Preview: 10 Must-See Movies

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »