D: Roland Emmerich

Lionsgate/Centropolis/Starlight Culture/Street/Shanghai Ruyi (Roland Emmerich & Harald Kloser)

US 2019

138 mins


W: Wes Tooke

DP: Robby Baumgartner

Ed: Adam Wolfe

Mus: Thomas Wander & Harald Kloser

Ed Skrein (Lt. Dick Best), Patrick Wilson (Lt. Cmmdr. Edwin T. Layton), Luke Evans (Lt. Wade McClusky), Aaron Eckhart (Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle), Woody Harrelson (Admiral Chester Nimitz), Dennis Quaid (Vice Admiral William Halsey)

The Battle of Midway was a decisive naval battle between the USA and Japan during the Second World War which has been seen as a major turning point for the Allied Forces following the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. The conflict was brought to the screen with an Oscar-winning documentary in the 1940's, before a flag-waving dramatisation was filmed in the 1970's, starring Charlton Heston, Henry Fonda & James Coburn.

This 21st Century update plucks from the pages of history and has a talented cast portraying the real-life heroes, but it also throws in other common blockbuster tropes, borrowed from films such as Top Gun and more notably 2001's Pearl Harbor.

The film is shown from the point of view of some of the real-life military men; a staid intelligence officer (Wilson), a conservative pilot (Evans) and a Gung-Ho, maverick aviator who plays by his own rules (Skrein).

With much less subtlety than Michael Bay's Pearl Harbor, this is all crash, bang, wallop with a very slender thread of narrative in-between and some of the worst examples of dialogue you're bound to ever hear in a war drama.

In the 1940's, films like these were ten a penny as they attempted to revitalise patriotic sentiment on the US shores as the soldiers fought on. It really fails to capture the horrors of war with its obvious green screen visual effects and pyrotechnics and really does nothing for the memory of those it attempts to honour. 

A popcorn history lesson which is far too long and, having its most exciting sequence in the opening act, ends up being incredibly boring overall.