Sam Strange Remembers: BATTLESHIP

The Navy's lifelong dream of being praised in a feature length board game adaptation comes true.

I recently went through a strange period where I failed to make any Michael Bay movies. In my absence, Michael Bay thought he could get away with making a series of Sam Strange movies about RoboCars. This made me angry, not so much because he tried to rip me off, but because his imitation felt so hollow and illegitimate. So I responded by making Battleship, an all-out effort to illustrate just what Michael Bay copying Sam Strange should look like.

Battleship begins with two Hawaiian scientists trying to open up communication with an alien world. One of the scientists fiddles with some nobs while the other stares off into space, finally developing the question he should have asked long before their fateful trip to Radio Shack: "Hey man, what if someone answers and they're buttheads?" We then follow their signal through the cosmos, ending up on an angry, militant planet where the aliens aren't buttheads, necessarily, but they do have spiky skin goatees, which is pretty much the same thing.

Back on Earth, we meet two handsome young brothers, String Bean and (INSERT NAME). String Bean is about to join the Navy and wishes his wild card little brother would stop screwing around all the time. (INSERT NAME) isn't listening, though, because he's focused on a hot blond girl who randomly walked into the seedy bar, hoping for some really headstrong, rebellious stud to come hit on her because she just got out of a long and emotionally stressful relationship with that guy who covered "Over the Rainbow" on ukelele.

(INSERT NAME) pounces on her immediately, asking if he can buy her a drink. She declines the drink and asks instead for a chicken burrito. (INSERT NAME) is far too dumb to understand her insinuation that she wants to enjoy the penis of a coward and instead breaks into a convenience store to steal her a microwaved chicken burrito. It's not the response she was looking for, and she's definitely spending the night by herself, but as police officers arrest this idiotic lunatic, she begins to fall in love.

Prison changes a man. And after two years in the slammer, (INSERT NAME) is finally able to take responsibility for his life. Having failed to come up with anything better or more original, he follows String Bean, now a high ranking officer, into the Navy. Before long, he becomes a high ranking officer himself thanks to a well-oiled system of bribery and nepotism. But these things can only go so far. His complete disregard for orders, combined with his rampant illiteracy, make him too much of a risk for the Navy, and he's on the verge of getting fired for Mavericksy.

This is especially bad news because (INSERT NAME) and Chicken Burrito Lady want to get married, but they must get consent from her father (Leslie Nielsen), who happens to be King of Navy. To make matters worse, he's still smarting from the time (INSERT NAME) put ipecac in his coffee during a lunch-in with the President.

Before any of this can resolve itself, all the Navy guys break away from their girlfriends to participate in RUMPPACK, a series of naval war games designed to test/haze new Navy recruits, which in this case includes an ex-stripper named Brihanna and Matt Damon's little brother. It works like this, there are five Naval ships: An aircraft carrier (The USS Robert Plant), a battleship (The USS Verizon Wireless), a submarine (The USS Des Moines), a destroyer (The USS Ray Stevens), and a cruise boat ("Jenny"). The four lesser ships duke it out with fake bullets while King of Navy watched from his aircraft carrier.

Before that can happen, however, five alien spaceships hurtle into our atmosphere. Four land right in front of the fleet of RUMPPACKers. The other is drunk and lands on top of five apartment buildings in Hong Kong instead, effectively killing approximately ten million people.

Back in Hawaii, our Navy guys are trying to figure out just what the heck is going on. The main alien ship suddenly encases the surrounding area within a huge electromagnetic net. No one can get in; no one can get out. Sensing hostility and not wanting to lose anyone important, King of Navy demands the USS Verizon (which is commanded by String Bean) put (INSERT NAME), Brihanna, and Matt Damon's little brother into an inflatable lifeboat and have them go poke one of the alien ships with a stick.

This tickles the alien ship, which angers it. Next thing anyone knows, the main alien ship fires a series of plastic red cylinders into the USS Verizon Wireless' ass, sinking the ship. This means two things. One, (INSERT NAME)'s brother is dead, and two, our team has lost its battleship before the game has hardly even started.

Now it's our turn, so the alien ships pause all activity while (INSERT NAME), Brihanna, and Matt Damon's brother row to the USS Ray Stevens. Apparently, the USS Ray Stevens has no actual officers on it, so (INSERT NAME) automatically becomes the ship's commander. Now the guy who couldn't follow rules must give them if he wants to save his life and avenge his brother. While he's trying to figure out how to fit into this new role, the aliens are like, "C'mon. This shit is supposed to help cure boredom."

While all this is going on, covert aliens are actually trying to commandeer the three big Radio Shack satellites those scientists used to reach them in the film's opening. They need to call back home to tell the rest of their crew how easy it is to kill us. They are sensitive to bright lights, so they're also going to order several cases of Ray Bans.

If the aliens get that message out, many more will arrive, and it will certainly mean humanity's extinction. But the stakes are even greater than that because Chicken Burrito Lady is hiking really close to those satellites. See, there's a law in Hawaii where if you eat enough chicken burritos they automatically give you a degree in physical therapy. So Chicken Burrito Lady works as a physical therapist for wounded veterans. On this particular day, she's hanging out with a legless Marine, trying to teach him how to control his body's new mechanical legs. His name is Chicken Burrito Guy.

As aliens invade their mountain, Chicken Burrito Lady and Guy hide in the bushes. They soon learn that the aliens are gunning for the mountain's satellites, which means they have to do whatever they can to sabotage their plans. Luckily, Chicken Burrito Guy is half cyborg, so he can kick the aliens to death, no problem.

Back on the ocean, (INSERT NAME) is still trying to figure out his next move. King of Navy can't help him because radio communications have been cut off by the aliens. He thinks and he thinks and he thinks. While he's thinking, he happens to see an Asian guy. Problem solved.

The Asian guy reprograms the ship's computer to display the immediate area in a grid formation. All they need to do is figure out which grid blocks contain alien ships. To ascertain the alien ship locations, they send a yeoman in a hot air balloon to get a good look out. The aliens immediately accuse (INSERT NAME) of cheating and blow the yeoman out of the sky.

This objection doesn't count as an actual turn, though, so the ball's still in (INSERT NAME)'s court. Whatever he does next, it better be good.


(mom made sandwiches)

Finally, the Asian guy comes up with a better idea. He realizes that by using typhoon buoys, they can reveal the alien ships' locations by mapping water displacement. (INSERT NAME) agrees to this plan even though he assumes the words he didn't know were in Japanese.

The plan works! The aliens lose one of their ships, though they won't admit if it was a battleship or what. Now that it's their turn, they shoot their little red plastic pegs into the USS Ray Stevens, so everyone abandons ship and swims to the "Jenny." Their next move is easy. They can see one of the alien ships with their own eyes. So they ram it to death. This both costs the aliens a ship and confuses them because it sinks the "Jenny" and leaves them without a ship to shoot at. Meanwhile, everyone still living dives down to join the fine folks aboard the USS Des Moines.

The aliens think they see something, but end up wasting a turn blowing up a seagull. The USS Des Moines takes that alien ship out from below. This gives up their position, however, and the aliens blow up the submarine with their next turn.

This leaves (INSERT NAME) without a ship. Or so he thinks. While wading in the water with Brihanna and Matt Damon's little brother, a strange and mysterious ghost ship approaches, manned by the spirits of a million elderly WWII veterans. They don't give a shit about rules because in their day, not everything was a fucking game. Their ship cannot be tracked by the aliens because it's run on a concoction of lumberjack balls and moonshine rather than iPads. They float right up to the last alien ship and fire twelve tons of TNT into its butt.

Suddenly, (INSERT NAME) gets a call from Chicken Burrito Girl. She and Chicken Burrito Guy have wiped out pretty much every alien on Satellite Mountain, so there's no longer any real emergency. She just wants him to know that, while she still wants to be friends, her heart now belongs to Chicken Burrito Guy. (INSERT NAME) sees a picture of his cool legs and totally understands. He then rides the ghost ship back to the now accessible USS Robert Plant, where Leslie Nielson rewards him by making him the new President of the United States. You can find out how all that goes down in the next film, Risk.

(three stars)