Remember that film “Battleship” from a few years ago that was gigantic critical and commercial disaster, thinking Rihanna was the most exciting thing in the world and having perhaps one remotely clever moment – the alien bombs looking exactly like the little pegs in the board game? Well, the Asylum and the SyFy Channel were clearly banking on it being a bit of a success because they mockbustered it with “American Warships” (it was originally called “American Battleships”, but the Asylum were successfully sued).
The USS Iowa is an old ship, and it’s about to take its last trip, to become a floating museum. A bunch of implausibly hot, young museum employees are stripping out all the post-WW2 modifications and giving it a factory reset; it’s got a small crew who aren’t really prepared to fight; and just as they set off for home, all hell breaks loose. Planes are blown out of the sky, ships are sunk, all electronic devices at sea are fried.
The initial blame is laid on North Korea. I mean, come on! I know Fox News and its cohorts in the fear-mongering business will try and blame them for everything, but the Armed Forces should know that North Korea can’t feed its own people, let alone start a successful war with the USA. So, the Iowa goes back to using its pre-electricity stuff (which is never more than a nod to the ship used in the big budget movie) and moves towards North Korea to try and figure out what’s happening.
When you see a teleporting space-submarine, I was like “okay, it’s aliens, just like I suspected”, but the film takes another 20 minutes before the cast find this out. To call it slow is almost an insult to slow things – I checked the time, expecting to see about 20 minutes to go, only to discover we’d barely passed the half-hour mark. Come on, movie! So, blah blah blah, will our brave boys and girls (there’s also a surprisingly good female Navy Intelligence Officer on board, who only gets her ass ogled by the cast or the camera three times) fight off the alien menace, hurrah for the USA, etc.
The cast isn’t really that bad – Mario Van Peebles is a steady hand, and Carl Weathers, despite me thinking of his amazing guest appearances in “Arrested Development” every time I saw him, is decent too. There are women on board who are there because they’re good at their jobs, which is good, but treated as sex objects anyway, which is not so good. It’s so ponderously slow, though, that having decent actors on board (if only that was a pun, it would be the most entertaining thing associated with either the blockbuster, the mockbuster or this review) means little.
So, if I was being honest I’d say avoid this one. The Asylum will make many, many better films than this, which the me of a year ago would have considered a surprising statement. I think me and the Asylum need some time apart, to think about what we want as a film company and a film review site. See you in the autumn, terrible movies.
Rating: thumbs down