Absolutely!It sounds hilariously bad. Are you planning to watch this weekend?
I love B-movies as the result of watching them on TV growing up. One of the local UHF stations used to have a movie block of a really bad sci-fi (or fantasy or horror movie paired with some of the worst dubbed kung-fu movies ever made.
Studios like Asylum are great for providing the perfect way to waste away a rainy day.
Five months ago a film crew was aboard the USS North Carolina making a small budgeted sci-fi adventure story. Tonight local crew and actors who worked on the movie got to see their work on the screen in downtown Wilmington. B-movie it may have been, the
premiere was a treat for those who worked on it.
The Brikhouse, on Market Street in downtown Wilmington, welcomed a full house and throughout the showing of “American Battleship” there were catcalls and cheers for familiar faces who appeared onscreen, many of which had sizable amounts of
dialogue. The production design was done by local Cathy Meriam.
“American Battleship” is about an soon to be retired battleship, the USS Iowa, that because if its age, is the only help fighting against an alien invading force of invisible at will ships that have used an EMP device to knock out modern warships.
The movie stars Mario Van Peebles and Carl Weathers. Mostly shot on the battleship, a scene showed Weathers jogging in the early morning hours is in downtown Wilmington (doubling for Washington, D.C.) and scenes with a SEAL team in the water was shot at the YMCA.
The low budget didn’t seem to matter and there were a few humorous moments – Van Peebles having a line about sinking one of America’s battleships, a double entendre with local actor Gray Hawks being directed by Van Peebles to help out the ship’s doctor, and the doctor herself (April Ezell Wilson) analyzing patients and quickly closing a dead sailor’s eyelids got a laugh.
Local actors received a lot of screen time. Devin McGee played a gung-ho SEAL team leader. Hawks played a communications officer. Charleston, South Carolina’s Wilson played the ship’s doctor. Greensboro’s Elijah Chester played the Secretary of Defense and got to stare down Carl Weathers in scenes, not a bad opportunity. Sean Patrick Smith, who played the executive officer to Van Peebles recounted how great it was to cross the bridge to work on the battleship each day. He told a story about Van Peebles working on Clint Eastwood’s “Heartbreak Ridge” and his guitar playing moonwalk in that film.
Director Thunder Levin answered questions afterwards in which the audience asked about shooting on the battleship, the actor’s favorite moments and the curious design of the film’s aliens.
This film was originally going to be called American Battleships (2012) until Universal threatened to sue The Asylum into oblivion. They caved in and changed the name, but it's obviously a mockbuster based on the critically panned big-budget film Battleship (2012).
Writer and director Thunder Levin's (yes, it's his real name) first directorial film was the classic Mutant Vampire Zombies from the Hood! I've never seen it, but I understand the dialogue was pretty good. Levin swears he had no idea of the plot of Battleship and has never even seen the trailer. This is amazing because the plot is almost identical.
Starring Mario Van Peebles as Captain Winston and Carl Weathers as General McKraken American Warships starts with the USS Iowa being taken apart and turned into a museum. Suddenly, a mysterious ship attacks the USS Enterprise. Yes, they're not above a little Star Trek humor. They chase after the invisible ship, which turns out to be a bunch of aliens that look, alarmingly, like a floating octopus with a female body part for a face.
All the while, the governments are headed for "World War III" because it's created an international incident. I don't know much about military strategy, but the escalation from a few coastal cities being attacked to launching bombers with nuclear warheads at North Korea seems pretty fast. Within hours they were at DEFCON 2. So much for diplomatic channels.
Most of the action in the film takes place on an actual battleship, the USS North Carolina in NC, while stock footage of ships and cities are blown up with fake explosions. This creates some humorous moments when footage has F-16s taking off and the planes changing into F/A-18s and F-15s in the air before being shot down as F-16s again. The alien weapons render all modern technology useless, so the crew is forced to rely on shortwave radio and old prop planes to attack the evil extra-terrestrials.
The movie has hilariously over-the-top dialogue "I'm not gonna let World War III start on my watch," growls Mario Van Peeples. The make-up effects are laughable and most victims look like they lost a fight with a ketchup bottle. One notable exception was a Navy SEAL who has "burns over 90% of his body." He looked like he had motor oil dumped on him.
Speaking of the Navy, the film seemed to waver between impressive military knowledge ("We don't salute indoors") to insanely inept depictions of Navy life. Highly trained Navy SEALS don't have enough self-control to avoid hooting at civilian women or complain about their mission. The captain and Lt. Caroline Bradley (Johanna Watts) openly smooch in full view of the crew revealing their secret love affair. The higher ranking Admiral is constantly being rebuffed and second-guessed by the Captain. I don't know much about military life, but I know when something feels wrong.
While American Warships certainly isn't the worst film I've ever seen (I'm looking at you Alien vs. Hunter) it's not the best by a wide margin. With weak acting, childish special effects and glaring plot holes, it's not goofy enough to be fun. Not bad enough to make fun of and in the end is just lame.
2 1/2 stars out of 5