So a movie is based off a board game, what can go wrong? A lot actually. Where to start with this flick? Well I guess will just start at the beginning, we open in 2005 where I guess NASA even though I don’t think we’re suppose to believe it was them, sent a satelite into space to send a signal to very Earth like planet across the universe. At this same time we meet Alex Hopper(Taylor Kitsch) and his brother Stone(Alexander Skarsgard) who is busy giving Alex a stern talking to about responsibility. Problem is once Brooklyn Decker walks in he ignores his brother and attempts to hit on her. She for some odd reason she REALLY wants a chicken burrito. So of course Alex breaks into a 7/11 to get one, the police show up and taze him. Somehow this random nonsense wakes Alex up and his brother demands he joins the Navy… Yes this is how the movie begins.
Finally we skip to present day where five alien ships pick up on the signal and shoot straight for Earth. Their “communication” ship is damaged and crashes into China. This one scene is what they use mostly in the trailer even though in the movie it’s a total accident. The other four ships land in the middle of the ocean, conveniently at the same time the Navy is doing a gigantic naval exercise including Canadian and Japanese ships(those are the only one’s we’re shown). The aliens create a force field around Hawaii and themselves. This looks in the Hooper brothers on two different destroyers and one Japanese ship.
Things get really weird after all of this. So while Hooper and the other ships take on the aliens what is the rest of the world doing? Well nothing. The rest of the Navy and the American/World militaries just sit around and do totally nothing while all of this happens. We follow Liam Neeson who leads the Navy and the dude is obviously mailing his performance in big time.
The acting all together is pretty tame, Kitsch really tries to be an action hero here but his lines are so terribly there is no way to act out of it. Brooklyn Decker doesn’t have much to do besides look the way she does so her character does and says very little. Amazingly Rihanna is the only one here who seems to try. Now it’s her first movie so obviously she would try harder, but while everyone was either stale or on the wrong note, she seemed to be the only one having fun with such a stupid and crazy movie.
Now the aliens are of course the most interesting part of the film and almost everything they do is a head scratcher. I now believe it was a dig at American foreign policy, since the aliens do exactly the same thing the military does. The aliens arrive, only attack ships when they are attacked. When they attack the island of Hawaii they take out military copters and planes and highways, otherwise they avoid civilian casualties. When the aliens face down with people, if you don’t attack them they don’t attack you. Frankly this comes off rather, well oddly, as the Navy is very aggressive in attacking them and if it wasn’t for the destruction many might think the aliens are the under dogs. Their look is rather interesting, they essentially look like UFC fighters. Bald, human, lizard eyes, goatees(I’m serious) and like six fingers.
Where I was impressed was how they snuck in the connections to the board game. I don’t think anyone screams “You sunk my battleship!” but we do get scenes where gunners essentially use the “F 11” system. The missiles the aliens use also look like the pegs from the board game which is kind of cool I guess.
The worst part of the film is it’s filled with pandering and very corny moments involving veterans. One moment where they enlist veterans to work on the battleship to fight the aliens. I get why they did this, but it comes off so badly and you just feel weird while watching it. The film is just terrible, Kitsch is solid and Rihanna is surprising. There are some cool moments and I found the aliens interesting even though the film never addresses what their eventual plan is and why they look like roid raging UFC fighters.