Movie Review: Midway11th February 2020
Roland Emmerich is a director, that much is true. He’s not one of competent measure, with the likes of disaster film The Day After Tomorrow and action junk such as White House Down littering an unimpressive career that has lasted, somehow, for more than two decades. His latest feature takes him right to the heart of American patriotism with Midway, a film in which the tragedy of Pearl Harbour is recounted for the thousandth time with a cast featuring actors who were unlucky enough to find themselves without a big role over the summer.
Or at least that’s the only explanation I have for Woody Harrelson, Aaron Eckhart and Dennis Quaid appearing in this slog of a movie. Such highly talented individuals crop up from time to time to deliver some frankly boring dialogue and then shuffle out of shot like they’re trying to rack up a few extra seconds of screentime. Why they would want to feature in a film as bad as Midway is beyond me, but their inclusion at times does soften the blow tremendously well in an otherwise borderline melodramatic feature film that has little in the way of substantial entertainment value.
An insufferable leading performance from Ed Skrein provides the final blow to a quintessentially weak American blockbuster. In my opinion the man is quite possibly one of the worst working actors today. It’s unfathomable to me as to how he managed to slide his way into a leading role when he has the propensity and scenery chewing extremities of only the lowest of B-Movie actors. His arrogant bravado seeps into a mesmerizingly strange accent, one that makes me wonder whether or not it was his real accent or a mere mockery of standardised Americanisms. Either way it’s perplexing.
What any action movie can rely on then is a suitably enjoyable and engaging setpiece. Midway is very hit and miss with its bold-faced action points, with a fair few succumbing to a lack of technical amazement. The few that stick around are actually fairly enjoyable, and I guarantee they would’ve been a lot better without the incessant Skrein complications the film suffers from. The opening assault on Pearl Harbour segment is better than the entire Ben Affleck movie, I’m assured, so at least the film has that going for it. The explosions and dogfights are minorly interesting at best, but they’re often side-lined for the typically boring character development tropes you can find in just about any action endeavour.
Midway has a few half-hearted attempts at bringing the impact of both the Pearl Harbour bombing and Battle of Midway to light, but Midway is a bland, expressionless husk of a film. The majority of characters in this film were real life individuals that fought during this period of time, and they’re turned from war heroes into action caricatures by a ham-fisted director and his gaudy cast of borderline tolerable talent. It comes right in between being a solemn reminder of all out warfare and a cheesy, wannabe action flick. I guess you could say it comes about midway between the two.