DVD Review - September 1

DVD Review - September 1

DVD Review - September 1

First published in AdXtra

A weekly round-up of the latest DVD releases.

By Damon Smith


New to rent on DVD/Blu-ray

Battleship (Cert 12, 125 mins, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller/Romance, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99/Steelbook Blu-ray £29.99)

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Liam Neeson, Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker, Tadanobu Asano, Jesse Plemons.

Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is a dropout, whose antics on the Hawaiian island of Oahu reflect badly on his brother, Stone (Alexander Skarsgard), the captain of the USS Sampson. "It's time for a new direction - you're joining me in the Navy!" barks Stone. Alex is assigned to the USS John Paul Jones, under the watch of Vice Admiral Shane (Liam Neeson), who just happens to be the deeply disapproving father of his girlfriend, Samantha (Brooklyn Decker). During a series of competitive naval exercises, extra-terrestrial spacecraft crash-land in the Pacific. The USS Sampson, USS John Paul Jones and JDS Myoko under the command of Captain Nagata (Tadanobu Asano) are dispatched to assess the threat. Sassy weapons specialist Cora Raikes (Rihanna) and boatswain Ordy (Jesse Plemons) stand alongside Alex on their destroyer, awaiting the order to attack. Inspired by the children's board game of naval warfare, Battleship is a special effects-laden alien invasion blockbuster directed with testosterone-fuelled gusto by Peter Berg. From the opening shots of scientists foolishly transmitting signals into deep space to stirring scenes of retired US officers casting aside their walking sticks to man a declassified naval vessel, Peter Berg's film is preposterous popcorn fodder. Kitsch is far more likeable here than as the time-travelling hero of John Carter, and Rihanna gets down and dirty with the boys, gamely throwing herself into the frenetic action scenes. The script's attempts at humour elicit weary groans ("You're saying E.T. wants to phone home?") and the plot is riddled with gaping holes that would sink the entire US fleet.

Rating: ***


Lockout (Cert 15, 91 mins, Entertainment In Video, Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller, also available to buy DVD £19.99/Blu-ray £24.99)

Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace, Vincent Regan, Joe Gilgun, Peter Stormare, Lennie James, Peter Hudson.

The year is 2079 and hard-bitten CIA Agent Snow (Guy Pearce) is caught in the crossfire of an undercover mission. Snow's superior is killed, supposedly by the agent, and secret service goons Langral (Peter Stormare) and Shaw (Lennie James) secure a murder conviction, which carries a sentence of 30 years in stasis in the experimental maximum security prison MS One. Before Snow can slip into artificial slumber, trouble erupts on the orbiting prison. The president's daughter, Emilie (Maggie Grace), is taken hostage during a breakout of the inmates led by Alex (Vincent Regan) and his mentally unstable brother Hydell (Joe Gilgun). President Warnock (Peter Hudson) authorises her rescue and Shaw proposes to send in Snow to infiltrate the prison and protect the First Daughter. Lockout is predictable, half-baked hokum, which sentences us to 91 minutes of cat and mouse, bookmarked by fisticuffs and excess violence. Pearce bulks up for this brawny, testosterone-fuelled action romp that follows a similar plot to Escape From New York. It's a depressingly dim-witted affair, hung on the leading man's sexist, politically incorrect rebel, whose amusing wise cracks are the only indication that the script was indeed co-written by Luc Besson and directors Stephen St Leger and James Mather. Grace is insipid while Regan and Gilgun essay pantomime villains, laying on thick accents to hammer another nail in the coffin of Anglo-Scottish relations. Action set pieces have been severely edited. By the time our pulses quicken, the pyrotechnics are over, and always with a whimper rather than a bang.

Rating: ***

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