iconimg Thursday, September 03, 2015

Rashid Irani, Hindustan Times
April 13, 2012
Direction: Peter Berg
Actors: Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker
Rating: ** It’s the same old global cataclysm for which those darn extraterrestrials are to blame. Ostensibly on a reconnaissance mission, the none-too-friendly aliens intend to claim our oceans’ resources.

So for a modicum of difference, their giant spaceship lands out at sea. Before you can say “aye aye captain”, the US naval fleet launches a do-or-die offensive.

Working from a script based on the popular combat board game of the same name, director Berg (The Kingdom) handles the slam-bang action sequences with assurance, but is not as fortunate in creating credible dramatics between the characters.The main thrust of the plot concerns a disgruntled lieutenant (Kitsch) who leads the crew of his destroyer in combat against the infinitely better equipped invaders.

He’s backed up by his older shipmate brother (Alexander Skarsgard) and a weapons specialist (pop crooner Rihanna making an inauspicious feature film debut). Last but certainly not the least is his smoking-hot love interest (cameragenic model-turned-actress Decker).

Rather conveniently, the young lady portrays a physical therapist whose father (Liam Neeson, suitably gruff) happens to be the admiral of the fleet. By the way,Japanese superstar Tadanobu Asano fetches up in the inconsequential role of a rival commanding officer.

The sloppy storytelling is of little consequence. It’s the interminable explosions and mega-budget destruction that are the film’s raison d’etre.  Despite the abundance of pyrotechnics, the tempo tends to get bogged down in watery tedium at times.

The soundtrack is pumped up to a deafening scale while the dialogue is for the most part, heavy-handed. The aquatic enterprise  founders under the weight of its own excess. Plunge into these troubled waters only if you are in the mood for mucho maritime mayhem.