Roland Emmerich’s World War II film “Midway” is a harrowing journey shot mainly from the point of view of a cocky, but talented Navy pilot, Lt. Dick Best (played by “Deadpool” actor Ed Skrein). Featuring an all-star cast that includes Woody Harrelson and Nick Jonas, “Midway” tells the story of the 1942 U.S. victory over the superior forces of the Imperial Japanese Navy. The two-hour long movie showcases daring dive-bombs and plenty of explosions, but in the end is just another so-so war flick. It hits the target with its bombastic action sequences, but goes into a nosedive in almost every other cinematographic regard.
Fast paced and dramatic, “Midway” is far from boring in terms of action. It jumps right into the conflict with barely an introduction. It covers Japan’s devastating December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor less than ten minutes in, powers through Jimmy Doolittle’s (Aaron Eckhart from “The Dark Knight”) revenge bombing of Tokyo, and finally concludes with the three-day-long Battle of Midway in June 1942. The fight scenes between the American pilots and Japanese fleets are heavy with fire and explosions, making for some undeniably rad action.
Dive-bombing is easy to picture, but Emmerich gives audiences the ability to see what it’s like from a pilot’s perspective. Anti-aircraft missiles bursting everywhere, bullets flying, and the enemy ships directly below. Those moments, in which there were plenty, were the biggest highlights of the movie. Emmerich did an admirable job of immersing viewers.
Aside from the action, however, “Midway” lacks just about everywhere else. The special effects play a vital part in recreating the battle, but it’s easy to see how much – or rather how little – of the budget was dedicated to CGI.
Then there’s the corny one-liners spoken by the protagonists that served to only detract from the narrative. Such an impressive cast seemed to be wasted on the equally unimpressive script. Dialogue that appeared heroic on paper came across as less when put to the screen; on the other hand, the hokeyness of it is expectedly inherent of war films. What is a war flick without it? Still, motifs of the genre don’t excuse poor writing for the entirety of the movie.
All in all, “Midway” is definitely a fun two-hour adventure with surprising historical accuracy for a Hollywood film. Just soldier through the corny dialogue and questionable CGI, and it’s enjoyable for any action fan.