It is fitting that the WW2 story of the Battle of Midway be told by Roland Emmerich, a director synonymous with “disaster porn” – blockbuster popcorn movies with enormous bodycounts including The Day After Tomorrow, Independence Day, 2012 and White House Down. A collector of Second World War memorabilia, here he sticks to the history books telling the tale of how the US Military sought revenge against the Japanese for the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour.
With his trademark subtlety of a sledgehammer, Emmerich sets up the showdown between Admiral Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa) and US Intelligence officer Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) as they attempt to outthink and outmanoeuvre one another across the Pacific Ocean throughout 1942.
Deemed the most decisive naval battle that turn the tide against the Japanese, Emmerich literally pulls out the big guns, recreating the Pearl Harbour attack and the epic dogfights and dive bombers that helped secure victory at Midway.
Surprisingly, in spite of some truly awful dialogue and many hammy scenes, he still manages to effectively and authentically capture the intimate moments between pilots, sailors, officers and partners. Then there’s the huge scope of his mainly CGI battle scenes which deserve to be seen on the big screen.
3 Stars – “As Subtle as a Sledgehammer”