Based on the famous four-day battle that turned the tide in WWII’s Pacific Theatre and which saw the American fleet face off against the Imperial Japanese Navy, this could have been “Roland Emmerich Does Pearl Harbor”. To its great credit, there is a merciful lack of Michael Bay’s juvenile standards of patriotic drivel and Emmerich manages to keep some of the schmaltziness at bay by presenting both the American and Japanese sides of the conflict, in a somewhat refreshing approach that offers a wider perspective on the event.
Sadly, that’s where the compliments end, as Midway is a naval battle drama you’ve seen before, and what it lacks in overt flag-waving nonsense it makes up for with repetitive and progressively awful dialogue. Its commitment to telling the story of the unsung heroes of Midway and the detailed historical accuracy – from the attack times to the squadron names – is laudable but cruelly undercut by its visible budgetary restrictions. The special effects look downright cheap, at times laughably so. Never in a million years does a film critic think they’ll have to type the following words, but when it comes to the battle sequences, Michael Bay did it better.
Midway | Directed by Roland Emmerich (US, 2019), with Ed Skrein, Luke Evans, Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson. Starts Nov 7.
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