BATTLESHIP, the new action-adventure from the director Peter Berg, is pure spring blockbuster fare – an all guns blazing, rattle your fillings, eardrum popping, engagingly spirited sort.

A bit like Berg himself.

The first minutes of the interview are taken up with a barrage of inquiries going the wrong way. What's Glasgow like? How's your golf game? What did you think of the film? It's answering the last one that invites trouble.

The heavy metal music wasn't my taste, I say.

"You don't like AC/DC? Oh my God, what kind of ...?" And so the tussle between a native New Yorker and a native Glaswegian over an ageing band of Scots-Australian rockers began.

Inspired by the game of the same name, Battleship is the story of a battle for Earth that takes place at sea. In the driving seat is the US Navy. Starring Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson and the Grammy-winning music star Rihanna, it was the perfect picture for Berg, who inherited his father's interest in naval history. Among his early heroes was John Paul Jones, the Kirkcudbrightshire lad who fought for the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

After Battleship, Berg's next film will be Lone Survivor, based on the true story of a US Navy Seal mission to capture a Taliban commander. In preparation for that, he spent a month embedded with a Seal unit in Iraq. Given his military interest, I wonder if Berg, now 50, had ever considered joining up.

"I had a different path. I went to high school and college and grew up in a real time of peace after Vietnam. It was before 9/11. I think if I was in high school on September 11, I probably would have joined up."

September 11 changed American attitudes towards the military, he says. While it was hard for Americans to understand why they were in Vietnam, the issues are more clear cut today, he believes.

"The idea that there are legitimately bad people out there who wish to inflict violence upon us is more real than it was back then. So there's more appreciation for soldiers, certainly than there was in the time of Vietnam."

The question is whether movies about the US military travel well. Act of Valour, which starred real Navy Seals recreating missions, received a decidedly chilly response from British critics on its recent release.

Battleship is meant to be fun, first and foremost, says the director of Hancock, The Kingdom and Friday Night Lights. As for Lone Survivor, he says: "Any time a film is made about American soldiers fighting in the Middle East there are certain problems. What makes Lone Survivor unique, and why the book has been so popular in America, particularly with Democrats and Republicans, is that it is just a fascinating story of four men who get into a really bad situation."

Outside of the scripted conflicts in Battleship, the director, cast and crew were engaged in a constant battle with their surroundings. "Everybody warns you against filming out at sea. It's the stupidest thing you can do. There are a hundred things that could go wrong every day and one thing that can go right. But we still wanted to do it."

As it turned out, a special consultant was keen to help. Kevin Costner, star of Waterworld, a film bedevilled by production headaches, called Berg to offer advice about sharks, 25-foot swells, cameras and much else.

"He said have three of everything because if a camera breaks and you're way out in the middle of the ocean you can't just go back and get another. Have two more. The first one will break, the second one will break, if you're smart you'll have a third one."

Making her movie debut is Rihanna, playing a weapons specialist. Her fans rushing to see the film should alone give it a good box office.

"Obviously I knew she was famous and I liked that, but I'm also a fan of finding new faces, people that you know in one way but don't know in another. There's a long history of musicians turned actors, starting with David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth, Mick Jagger in Performance, Frank Sinatra won an Oscar in From Here to Eternity, Mariah Carey in Precious."

Berg was impressed by Rihanna from the off. "She came in in a T-shirt and blue jeans, a pair of sneakers, no make-up, and we just started improvising. She demonstrated a real, legitimate desire to play, to take chances, to experiment, which to me are all the things that are important for an actor. I was like, 'Hell yeah, you're in.'

"She said, I'll do it only if you promise to treat me like you treat any other actor. Don't lie to me; push me, make me work. She stayed in the same crappy little hotel that we did, she ate the same bad food, she had no entourage. This is a very young girl who from the age of 17 has been famous and she really enjoyed just not having to be the boss, being part of a team, a family. She was great."

Berg is an actor, writer, producer and director who has been in movies since moving to LA when he was 22. He's had "every single job there is", from fetching coffee to driving trucks.

"My path was not go to film school, live my life, have adventures, fall in love, get my heart broken, get arrested, win a few fights, lose a few fights, travel the world, have an appetite for telling stories but also to learn a lot about how films are made."

What did you get arrested for, I ask. Playing AC/DC too loudly?

"Usually drinking. Usually things that started with too much alcohol and ended up with me fighting people I had no business fighting. Those are the old days though. No more fighting."

Just AC/DC?

"I'm going to send you some AC/DC. You need to listen to it."

How can you not like AC/DC?, he asks. "What do you like? What do you listen to when you want to get going?" I tell him my musical taste stopped developing at David Bowie.

"Sure. I like David Bowie. But if you needed to get yourself ready to kick some ass what do you think you'd put on? David Bowie? That's not going to get you there."

As I um and ah he starts to sing Under Pressure by Bowie and Queen. Maybe I just don't do that much ass kicking, I say.

"No, but really. What would you listen to put yourself in the mood? How about Led Zeppelin? The Rolling Stones?"

To my eternal shame I hear the words "Scissor Sisters" leaving my lips.

We eventually agree to disagree. He's made Battleship for audiences to have fun, he says. It's their views he cares about, not the critics.

"I'm very proud of this film and won't be that affected either way by critical reaction. That being said, you better write something nice about me."

And if I don't?

"I'm going to kick your ass," he laughs.

Game over.

Battleship opens in cinemas next Wednesday.