This will be the last edition of “Shooting the Wounded” in Yorkton This Week.
Battleship (DVD/Blu-Ray) – Dir. Peter Berg. Starring Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson.
No one in the world thought it was a good idea to make the board game "Battleship" into a feature film. No one thought that such a film, if by some dark madness it were made, should have a plot revolving around aliens invading Earth. And yet here we are.
Battleship's existence is a stunning condemnation of the film industry and the decision-makers behind it. At its best, it's a generic alien invasion film; at its worst, an indefensible demonstration of tedium and creative bankruptcy.
Here's the story: Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a directionless young man who, in the course of burglarizing a convenience store to impress a girl (successfully!), joins the navy and somehow rises to the rank of Lieutenant despite being a swaggering man-child. Then some aliens invade.
Actually, you can disregard all of that except the last sentence, because no one cares about Alex Hopper and his personality-devoid girlfriend (Brooklyn Decker). No one cares about his strained relationship with her father (Liam Neeson) or his rivalry with a Japanese soccer player. No one cares about any of this, and yet it's the total focus of the film's first hour—an excruciating attempt to ape the dubious models of Independence Day and Armageddon.
Once things start blowing up, the film becomes a tolerable but unremarkable action showcase. One important missing piece is a sense of danger—something one might expect should be readily available in a story about an incompetent sailor commanding a sluggish sea ship in battle against hyper-advanced aliens.
Unfortunately, the invaders are some of the least threatening aliens featured in a movie since the ones in Signs, who would dissolve like the Wicked Witch of the West if they stepped outside on a humid day. Battleship's aliens, despite traveling through interstellar space, possess no weapons greater than low-yield explosives and a sort of giant sawblade that gets loose and buzzes around cities like an aggressive termite. They can't see in bright light (or seemingly in the dark), and when face-to-face spend so much effort trying to intimidate their opponents that they forget to put up a fight. They're more of a headache for insurance companies than a credible threat to the planet.
No one even says the line "You sunk my battleship!" There is no reason to see this movie.
Rated PG-13 for battling ships.
2 out of 5
The Lucky One (DVD/Blu-Ray) – Dir. Scott Hicks. Starring Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Blythe Danner.
Counterfeit romantic drama hacked together from the parts of other romantic dramas.
Adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel, The Lucky One opens with the usual rambling narration about destiny and "one moment changing everything" from the male lead, a US marine named Logan (Zac Efron). In a poorly edited and cliché-ridden Iraqi battlefield montage, we see him discover a photo of an American girl (Taylor Schilling) on the ground, which stops him from stepping into the path of a mortar attack. Convinced that this was fate at work, he resolves visit her in rural Louisiana after he returns home to thank her for saving his life.
This would be an easy task for any rational human being, but Logan is not one of those. After walking across five states to reach his "guardian angel," for no reason whatsoever our hero finds himself unable to tell her the reason he has come. Instead he accepts a job at her dog kennel and spends what seems to be a period of several months working for her, becoming creepier and more stalker-ish with each passing day that he withholds the truth.
This is apparently what "romance" is.
Obviously, in the most awkward and unnecessary way possible, the truth does eventually come out. We then get an absurdly contrived, semi-hysterical, completely out of place scene of heroic action at the climax to set things right.
Logan is one of the most lifeless and uninteresting romantic leads in history, unless you choose to believe, as I did, that his blunted personality and inexplicable secrecy are cover for the bodies he's surely hiding under the kennel.
Bland and phoned-in, with a contempt for the viewer's intelligence, The Lucky One is the worst romance I've seen in a while.
Rated PG-13 for barn groping.
2.5 out of 5