Rihanna surprises in sci-fi flickComment on this story
DIRECTOR: Peter Berg
CAST: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Rihanna Fenty
CLASSIFICATION: PG 13
RUNNING TIME: 131 minutes
When the war is between man and monster, not even Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones can save the day. That’s why you call in the international fleet of ships full of Americans with big egos. Insert rolling of eyes here.
So, is Battleship any good? The short answer is: yes. The long answer includes CGI-talk and a bad wig so, if you’re ready, read on.
Loosely based on the naval combat game of the same name, Battleship is about a man-child who finally grows up when the future of Earth is at stake.
This coming-of-age metamorphosis has Alex Hopper (Kitsch) at its epicentre. While living with his brother Stone (Skarsgard), a big shot in the marines and making a nuisance of himself in his community, Stone gives Alex an order: he is to become a seaman. Don’t laugh.
Anyway, Alex steps up to the plate and even contemplates asking his girlfriend’s father, Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), for his daughter’s hand in marriage – but will that be enough when they have to fight a force they’ve never encountered before?
This life force is from another planet, one humans have termed Planet G, and looks ghastly. In an awesome way, though.
The “aliens” that are called The Regents come plunging down from Planet G into the ocean in a machine that folds in on itself, spreads its geometric shapes out and contorts in a manner that astounds the Marines. Heck, it astounded me. Not surprising since the animation in this sci-fi was handled by Hasbro, the same guys who gave us Transformers. You know how Optimus Prime rises up to tower over everything and the mechanic bits unfold and look awesome? Yeah, The Regents are similar. Except when the “helmets” covering their faces are taken off, then they look like those Chinese crested hairless dogs. Scary.
Using land and sky, but predominantly the sea, these creatures destroy every piece of matter – except where they can detect that there is a beating heart and a harmless human – that stands in their way.
Under Alex’s command is weapons specialist Cora (Fenty) who, surprisingly, doesn’t tank as an actress. The first time you see her in this movie, you’ll cringe. That’s because she doesn’t really get to speak and her wig – a short, brown bob – is fugly. She keeps this wig on while in the water, running for her life and lighting a fire under The Regents’ metallic bottoms with cannons that blow everything up. Aside from the hair, you might just like Rhi Rhi and crew, so go and check it out
If you liked… Battle Los Angeles… then you will absolutely love this.
Celeb career crossover: cringe or clap?
Okay, we’ll admit it. In this naval combat film, we were pretty certain Rihanna was going to tank. The Umbrella-ella-ella-ella singer blew her role as Cora, a subordinate of Alex Hopper, right out of the water, though. But she’s not the first r&b singer to put her music career on pause for a chance to prove she can act in more than music videos.
Here we rate a few more singers-cum-actresses:
Queen Latifah: Technically, Latifah started out as a rapper. Sporting a long headdress and thick, gold jewellery bearing the likeness of Queen Nefertiti and other African icons, she was known as a hard-hitting musician who had an affiliation to other “conscious” artists such as the Jungle Brothers. Then she scored a role as Khadija, the lead in the 1990s sitcom Living Single, and it was almost bye-bye rap music. She went on to star in classics like Set It Off and even duds like Just Wright.
Beyoncé: Mrs Carter may be able to out-sing just about anyone in r&b right now, but an Oscar- worthy actress she is not. Having proved this in everything from Pink Panther to Austin Powers: Gold Member, her only saving grace was starring in the musical film Dreamgirls. But this required her character to sing, so perhaps it’s not a fair film to include.
Whitney Houston: Oh, Nippy. Who can forget the scene in The Bodyguard where Whitney points a sword at Kevin Costner and he slowly pulls it – and her – towards himself? Houston may have had crackish tendencies, but when she started acting she cracked open a whole new avenue for singers such as Brandy to follow. She also starred in The Preacher’s Wife, the cult classic Waiting To Exhale and, before her death this year, Sparkle, alongside Jordin Sparks.
Naturi Haughton: Formerly a third of the r&b girl group 3LW, Naturi was the dark-skinned one – the one who could sing but no one paid attention to. So she bounced. After years of paying her dues and trying to be taken seriously as an entertainer, she landed a role in Fame, the movie.
But before that, she caught the eye of hip hop lovers when she portrayed female rap icon Lil’ Kim in the B.I.G biopic, Notorious, which starred Anthony Mackie and Derek Luke, too.
• WIN! WIN! WIN!
Rihanna is hot property when it comes to music and sexy tabloid shenanigans, but it seems as if she's destined to light up the silver screen as well. This Bajan bombshell makes her movie debut in Battleship, manning big guns and giving hell to an invading alien force. Though there were initially reservations about the singer's ability to act, the Umbrella hitmaker puts those doubts to rest, whetting the appetite for future film roles. Battleship, directed by Peter Berg, is an action-adventure blockbuster inspired by the classic Hasbro naval combat game of the same name. It stars Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker and Taylor Kitsch, as well as a horde of CGI-flavoured aliens called The Regents. With the future of the world at stake, it's up to Kitsch and Rihanna to keep the invaders at bay, which they do in a bonanza of big explosions and a battle that rages across land, air and of course, sea. Battleship opens this Friday (May 4) at cinemas nationwide.
To celebrate the release of Battleship, [email protected] is offering 5 lucky readers the chance to win Reb'l Fleur/Battleship hampers. Each package consists of two of Rihanna's Reb'l Fleur Fragrances, a stylish Rihanna Sweet Escape Bag, a Battleship cap and a Battleship waterproof capsule for your iPhone or MP3 player.
To stand a chance of winning, all you have to do is answer the following question: Who directed Battleship?
Send your answer, along with your name and contact details, to [email protected], with "Battleship Competition" in the subject line. The competition closes on Friday, May 11, at midnight. Only the winners will be contacted.