"Battleship" boasts a destroyer's wallop of visual effects, but not enough brains to fill a dinghy. Slavishly imitative of Michael Bay's cinema du boom, the story is essentially a moist "Transformers." Responding to a beacon signal from Earth, extraterrestrial invaders send, of all things, a fleet.
The invaders arrive off the coast of Oahu during a multinational naval exercise. Taylor Kitsch (fresh off the epic flop "John Carter") tops the cast as Lt. Alex Hopper, who may be the most boneheaded action hero in movie history. He decides to form a one-man boarding party of the alien skyscraper, pounding on the dormant tower's exterior and making the sleeping giant wake up grumpy. After the invaders sink two destroyers, he declares, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Roger that.
The film is mostly about macho guys in uniform. In an effort to provide balance, there are a couple of hot chicks. Swimwear model Brooklyn Decker plays Kitsch's love interest, Sam. She is the daughter of Adm. Liam Neeson. Also on hand is pop star Rihanna, who plays a spunky gunner; apparently Michelle Rodriguez was taking the week off.
The best part of the film is the performance by Lt. Col. Gregory D. Gadson, director of the U.S. Army Wounded Warrior Program. He plays a double-amputee Iraq hero whose prosthetic legs are perfect for kicking alien butt. You probably won't remember the action sequences, but this guy'll stay with you. (Rating: PG-13.)