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3 1/2 stars for Asylum (or bad SyFy) Fans
1 1/2 stars: Everyone Else

I have to credit the cheapie studio The Asylum for creating an entirely new movie term (or at least beating it into mainstream consciousness). They have created the Mockbuster. Every year, the studio seems to look at the upcoming summer movie releases and then tries to replicate the larger studio offerings. The SyFy network will then broadcast these low budget endeavors on the same weekend that the original flicks hit the theater. It's actually pretty funny. However, last year, things struck a little too close as Asylum released "Battle of Los Angeles" as "Battle: Los Angeles" was in theaters and a confusion in the DVD market upset a number of consumers. Maybe that's why this year Asylum found itself in a legal battle with Universal Studios over this particular movie. As "Battleship" opens wide in movie houses, Asylum had readied "American Battleship" for the SyFy crowd on the same weekend. But with an impending lawsuit, the title has recently morphed into "American Warships" even as the movie remains a blatant copy of its more extravagant cousin.

I never expect much from an Asylum film, most are shot in a few days with a couple of nickels as the budget. But sometimes bad movie magic strikes. Some of the endeavors have been brilliantly bad (I mean that as a compliment) while others have just been bad bad. "American Warships" is actually a movie that benefits from lowered expectations because, by Asylum standards, it seems much more accomplished than some of their other offerings. Sure it's still silly, but it's a fun and entertaining silliness. The CGI effects are better than anticipated (once again, by Asylum standards, not feature film). But what takes this a step up from the ordinary are the committed performances. Note, I didn't say good--I said committed. It's so over-the-top delightful. For a bad movie to work, the actors have to convince you (often with limited resources and extreme line readings) that the fate of the world rests in their hands. I believed it here even when it was wooden and painfully overwrought.

Mario Van Peebles finds himself the captain of a battleship when a strange attack by alien forces seem to have crippled our ordinary defenses. As circumstances grow more dire, some hard decisions need to be made. As the attacks continue, the only option available may be a nuclear one. Of course, the implications of this aren't very pleasant but may be inevitable. Helping with these hard decisions, the cast also boasts an appearance by Carl Weathers as a General and Johanna Watts (surprisingly likable) as a lieutenant. Can the invasion be stopped? Will our heroic troops survive?

I truly struggle when reviewing bad movies. Why? Because for me, there is a difference between watching something for free and paying to own it on DVD. To be fair, many of these SyFy movies are rated by viewers that saw them on TV for free. I could watch nonsense non-stop at home on SyFy and be happy enough. Most of what I watch, however, I would not pay for or recommend to someone else for purchase. So my honest suggestion with "American Warships" is to catch it for free before deciding whether to invest. It's not something that I would choose to revisit anytime soon, but I've seen much worse from Asylum. And I had a fair share of laughs with this one. KGHarris, 5/12.
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3 1/2 stars for Asylum (or bad SyFy) Fans
1 1/2 stars: Everyone Else

I have to credit the cheapie studio The Asylum for creating an entirely new movie term (or at least beating it into mainstream consciousness). They have created the Mockbuster. Every year, the studio seems to look at the upcoming summer movie releases and then tries to replicate the larger studio offerings. The SyFy network will then broadcast these low budget endeavors on the same weekend that the original flicks hit the theater. It's actually pretty funny. However, last year, things struck a little too close as Asylum released "Battle of Los Angeles" as "Battle: Los Angeles" was in theaters and a confusion in the DVD market upset a number of consumers. Maybe that's why this year Asylum found itself in a legal battle with Universal Studios over this particular movie. As "Battleship" opens wide in movie houses, Asylum had readied "American Battleship" for the SyFy crowd on the same weekend. But with an impending lawsuit, the title has recently morphed into "American Warships" even as the movie remains a blatant copy of its more extravagant cousin.

I never expect much from an Asylum film, most are shot in a few days with a couple of nickels as the budget. But sometimes bad movie magic strikes. Some of the endeavors have been brilliantly bad (I mean that as a compliment) while others have just been bad bad. "American Warships" is actually a movie that benefits from lowered expectations because, by Asylum standards, it seems much more accomplished than some of their other offerings. Sure it's still silly, but it's a fun and entertaining silliness. The CGI effects are better than anticipated (once again, by Asylum standards, not feature film). But what takes this a step up from the ordinary are the committed performances. Note, I didn't say good--I said committed. It's so over-the-top delightful. For a bad movie to work, the actors have to convince you (often with limited resources and extreme line readings) that the fate of the world rests in their hands. I believed it here even when it was wooden and painfully overwrought.

Mario Van Peebles finds himself the captain of a battleship when a strange attack by alien forces seem to have crippled our ordinary defenses. As circumstances grow more dire, some hard decisions need to be made. As the attacks continue, the only option available may be a nuclear one. Of course, the implications of this aren't very pleasant but may be inevitable. Helping with these hard decisions, the cast also boasts an appearance by Carl Weathers as a General and Johanna Watts (surprisingly likable) as a lieutenant. Can the invasion be stopped? Will our heroic troops survive?

I truly struggle when reviewing bad movies. Why? Because for me, there is a difference between watching something for free and paying to own it on DVD. To be fair, many of these SyFy movies are rated by viewers that saw them on TV for free. I could watch nonsense non-stop at home on SyFy and be happy enough. Most of what I watch, however, I would not pay for or recommend to someone else for purchase. So my honest suggestion with "American Warships" is to catch it for free before deciding whether to invest. It's not something that I would choose to revisit anytime soon, but I've seen much worse from Asylum. And I had a fair share of laughs with this one. KGHarris, 5/12.
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on May 27, 2012
This movie (if it can be called that), is absolutely terrible... even with the foreknowledge that it is an intentionally cheap rip-off of the big budget movie 'Battleship' which is failing in American theaters as I write this.

I thought I might enjoy American Warship as a low budget comical contrast to the awful very-nearly un-watchable $200 million utter-nonsense that Hasbro's Battleship turned out to be, and then was surprised that this film was so much worse, SO much worse, that I regret the time I spent in viewing it.

American Warship's story is slightly different, but exactly as bad as Battleship the movie IMO, so I can't really fault it in that department -- I got what I expected.

But the acting and writing/dialogue was orders of magnitude worse than it's big budget counterpart to the point that I was cringing through most scenes and felt sorry for the actors who were forced to say terrible lines.

The effects were HORRENDOUSLY bad, and inexplicably inconsistent as the FX companies who worked on this obviously had access to the correct CGI models to use, but got the planes mixed up from shot to shot. Sometimes there were air force planes on the carrier instead of navy planes. Sometimes in aerial combat a two engine plane would switch to a single engine and then back from shot to shot as if nobody would notice.

All the CGI was terribly lit and textured anyway, the CGI particle splash and explosion effects were awful and also heavily reused so you'd see the same bad splash effect over and over as you watched the movie. Since probably little to no money was spent on these effects, one wonders why not make a few more different versions for use in the film.
The CWIZ Gatling guns had fake looking flames composited over the barrels while the barrels did not spin, to pretend they were shooting.
All the debris was painted sheets of Styrofoam, and when they fell on the actors and they had to pretend to be trapped under it... just so hard to watch. This is just a sampling of how bad both the CGI and practical effects were.

I was expecting a bad film, prepared to enjoy a cheezy bad film, but was shocked at how much worse it actually was to the point of not being able to enjoy it.

There are no redeeming qualities to this film, watch it at your own peril and loss of an hour and a half of your life when you could have been watching something else.
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on July 20, 2015
Here's a dumb movie, but it's a dumb movie with bad acting. As far as the product goes, it arrived as advertised, in great condition. Not sure if I'm supposed to be reviewing the movie or the product. I guess I would say thumbs down to the movie, thumbs up to the product and the seller.
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on June 30, 2014
It falsely advertized on the package that the AUDIO program is [DTS-HD] and that it was in surround sound. I returned it with the following statement: "Does NOT have the audio program advertized on your website or on the MANUFACTURER'S packaging. Please issue refund."
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on September 9, 2013
I had only seen the movie once. I was impressed by the handling of the opposition set up by the invaders of the one earthly faction against the other.
This theme being as long established as its appearance in the book "1984".
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VINE VOICEon July 7, 2012
Nothing could have surprised me more than coming to this conclusion, especially after having sat through nearly a dozen trailers for other The Asylum movies I'd never want to watch even if someone paid me to do so, but just this one time it appears the mockbuster beats the blockbuster: Battleship...

or at least wrestles it to a draw.

Of course the victory doesn't come through special effects, soundtrack, or star power, as plenty of other reviewers have noted, but rather in the area of acting and plot.

Though it might be stretching things to use the term "plausible" when talking about battleship versus space aliens, the plot of American Warships (according to the "making of" featurette originally titled "American Battleship", presumably changed under threat of lawsuit) struck me as by far the more plausible:

SPOILER ALERT!

Sneaky space aliens equipped with EMP weapons and cloaking devices attempt to trick USA and China into World War III by launching attacks against both sides beginning in the area of the Korean Theater but are foiled by USS Iowa's pre-integrated-circuits systems, her captain's (Mario Van Peebles') dogged, The Enemy Below like pursuit of an enemy he can neither see nor otherwise detect except by wake or physical touch, and the stubborn, relentless determination of her outmatched but unwilling to admit it crew, including a Seal Team OTHER THAN 6 with something to prove and a surprisingly enthusiastic (and very helpful) civilian volunteer.

END SPOILER ALERT!

Second, a couple of thoroughly professional veteran actors, Mario Van Peebles and Carl Weathers, anchor a cast of less-well-knowns, with solid, somewhat underacted performances that precisely for that reason are more realistic than the histrionics Hollywood usually prefers in military servicemen roles.

In short, if you find the question of just how one would deal with such a problem intriguing, chances are you will find this the more interesting film. Have the filmmakers swiped some ideas from old Star Trek episodes? Almost certainly, but that turns out to be a better place to steal movie ideas from than a militarily unrealistic if strategic thinking teaching and downright fun old classic of a board game: Battleship.
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on February 4, 2015
If you deem Chef Boyardee Italian food, you might think this is a movie. It's a waste of time to comment on how horrendous the script, acting, etc. are, although not as big of a waste as the time watching the movie. If you are amused by the worst of the worst (like F-16s changing into F-18s and F-15s between cuts), you would have plenty of fodder. This is an embarrassment to film making.
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on June 3, 2014
My dad has dementia and one of the few pleasures in life are for him to watch military movies with great footage of naval ships. This movie was a 5 star in that regard. There were also historical facts portrayed in the movie: the ship is now a museum, the 16 inch turret did blow up during an exercise in the 80's and according to a story my dad told my brother, during the Korean War, one of the ships did lose complete power from an unknown source and this fact was kept under wraps by the Navy. Yes, a bad movie in regards to acting, special effects, soundtrack, etc., but great footage of the reason why this ship was called "the big stick."
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on November 29, 2012
Not all at similar to "Battleship" Hasbros Production. The Movie is less than B rated, the Ships looked phony or bad, the acting was really put on and terrible, The Navy Seals in this were not like the real Navy Seals, the "Martians" were like real bad puppets, the plot left a whole lot to be desired and not even 1/10th as cool as "Battleship". Yep I bought it even after reading some bad reviews and they were right on the money as far as the critical ones went. If you have seen both "American Warships" and "Battleship" then "Battleship" has to have been superior.
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