Battleship (2012 125mins.) [Film4 6.25pm & +1]
A reckless slacker joins the Navy, hoping to win the respect of his girlfriend's father, a stern admiral. He and his shipmates are put to the ultimate test as part of a force of vessels that must battle an invading fleet of powerful alien spaceships.
Sci-fi adventure, starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgard.
The lazy review is "Transfomers At Sea" but director Peter Berg remembers the thing that Michael Bay often forgets : these big budget sock 'em rock 'em blockbusters are supposed to be fun for the viewer ; to this end he keeps the action moving forward, with plenty of set-pieces (which are kept to a sensible length) and some moments of humour in the interactions of the characters.
Of course it's stupid and utterly unscientific in every way but the decent cast and spectacular CGI at least make it an entertaining watch.
Liam Neeson and Alexander Skarsgård are the nominal stars but they really get very little screen time, they're there to provide a little depth and acting gravitas in support of the younger cast members who do most of the actual work.
Taylor Kitch and Jesse Plemon (both off of TV's Friday Night Lights) are reunited as the young officers suddenly having to Save The World from The Bad Things From Space rather than boozing, chasing girls and cracking wise.
There's the novelty casting of Rihanna as a senior weapons specialist (no, really!) who actually does quite well with a badly underwritten part and some good work by Tadanobu Asano.
Obviously it was never going to win any awards or be hailed as a cinematic masterpiece but it does enough to keep you engaged and entertained for a couple of hours - and really that's the whole point of films like this.
And there is a reference to the classic pen and paper game of Battleships at one point which made me smile as the grid appeared on a computer screen and Captain Nagata shouted "B9! Fire!"