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Under the Radar DVD of the Week: 'American Warships'

‘Battleship' knock-off goes to DVD Tuesday in the form of ‘American Warships.”
BY DENNIS KING For The Oklahoman Published: May 22, 2012

This week, the oddest DVD on release lists is:

“American Warships”

While “Battleship” bombards multiplex audiences with FX bombast, a rival juggernaut of “mockbuster” proportions now prepares to moor itself on video shelves.

“American Warships,” produced by notorious copycat company Global Asylum, is due out on DVD Tuesday.

Promotional benefit

Originally titled “American Battleship” and positioned to mooch off Universal Pictures' huge advertising blitz in advance of “Battleship's” wide May 18 U.S. release, the modestly budgeted CGI knockoff became the subject of a high-profile court case when Universal sued Global Asylum for copyright infringement.

The direct-to-DVD maker responded by changing the title of its movie to “American Warships” (after, no doubt, benefiting greatly from the publicity).

Global Asylum's picture is essentially a low-budget clone of “Battleship,” featuring a noisy story of U.S. Naval war craft battling invading extraterrestrials at sea and featuring a second-tier cast of macho actors, including Mario Van Peebles and Carl Weathers, in a combination of kick-butt action stunts and CGI effects.

Releasing ‘mockbusters'

Global Asylum is notorious for cashing in on this piggyback tactic, releasing a number of so-called mockbusters in the wake of Hollywood blockbusters.

Its roster of straight-to-DVD productions with vaguely evocative titles includes “Paranormal Entity,” “Titanic II, “2012: Ice Age” and “Battle of Los Angeles.”

“American Warships” is not rated and runs 90 minutes. It's being released by Asylum Home Entertainment.

Dennis King blogs at “Get App-y” will return next week.


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