I was pleasantly surprised by the syfy channel movie called American Warships shown on Saturday 19th May. Syfy channel makes it a regular practice to show their low budget knock-offs when some big-budget Hollywood extravaganza is appearing. Recent examples are their versions of Thor, Battle for Los Angeles and War of the Worlds.
American Warships is a knockoff of Battleship (read my previous review) without being constrained by the board-game. It stars Mario Van Peebles and Carl Weathers, who both give credible if somewhat stilted performances – what can you expect from military types anyway. The director is someone named, believe or not, Thunder Levin who had last directed a movie in 2008 called Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood’ – no, I didn’t make that up either!
The premise is that mysterious stealth ships have taken out the USS Enterprise carrier group with EMP weapons that cripple all the electronics and sophisticated missile technology that destroy the ships and nearby airbases in South Korea. The North Koreans and Chinese are suspected and a nuclear war is imminent. Of course, things are not so simple (spoiler alert……). It is really aliens who are trying to create a situation whereby humanity destroys itself and save them the trouble.
In steps the USS Iowa – a world-war battleship that is on its last voyage and going to a museum. In fact, the museum scientists are working on board to start the restoration by removing sophisticated post-world-war two equipment. This turns out to be a saving grace because the ship is so old that it is not totally helpless after the EMP surge and puts up a fight against the hostile ships. There is also a contingent of navy seals on board who infiltrate the enemy and discover their true identity.
The story-line mostly hangs together and the wooden (or is it stoic?) performances by Captain Van Peebles and the navy seal commander make it almost watchable. The downside is the usual poor special effects. The aliens are floating squids and the stealth ship CGIs are laughable. I give it one star but would not recommend that you waste any of your time on this unless you have insomnia.