Managed To Make It Midway To A Quality War Film

Midway Poster

 

War is hell a wise person once said, and in many ways we the general public have no idea what it was like on those battlegrounds where so many sacrificed so much.  Fortunately for many of us, the movies have offered a glimpse into the world, opening our eyes to the world that cares little of its soldiers in regards to decency and humane treatment.  Many of these films are often about the action, and while not as prominent as they once were back in the day, they still offer some intense views of history.  Past this introduction, this weekend, yet another historical remake is flying in to make a landing, in hopes of wowing the group once more with its depiction of the great war.  Robbie K here with yet another review as we look into:

 

Movie: Midway (2019)

 

 

LIKES:

 

The Modern Technology Prowess

Multiple Aspect providing different viewpoints

The Intensity Of Some War Scenes

The Decent Acting

The Intelligence Aspect

 

DISLIKES:

 

Disjointed Plot

Too many Perspectives

The Semi Forced Love Story

The Choppiness of the scenes

Semi-sloppy use of big names

The Action Scenes

 

SUMMARY:

 

Modern technology allows us to make things more realistic and engaging, and should in theory lead to better fights.  In a way Midway accomplishes this by bringing the chaos with speaker booming effects, special effects that light up the screen, and dances with planes that once relied on plywood models.  It is certainly the selling points of the trailers and should appeal to the modern audiences expectations as realism and style come together.  This film though took a different approach compared to the previous theaters of war, not focusing so much on the action from America by itself, but instead dividing the focus between both parties involved.  This dynamic is impressive to see because it helps show the strategy involved in something you have only read about in a history textbook, allowing for a different appreciation of the tactics in war.  In fact, my favorite aspect, as well as my good buddy, both agreed that seeing the intelligence component involved with determining how to fight the Pacific campaign.  Much of the film is dedicated to showing how codes were cracked, departments coordinated, and risks were taken to determine the best places to strike and this new perspective was very strongly placed.  When the battles did finally occur, there are several moments where you get pulled into the intensity, feeling like you are part of the squad and in the cockpit during this operation.  Nice editing on these parts, and quite an adrenaline rush at the times it works.  Finally, the acting is not an issues in this film, as all personalities of war are brought in and everyone executes there roles quite well when they are on stage.  I’m not saying Academy Award Level, but it’s believable and appropriate for this film’s approach.

 

For all its worth though, there are several limitations for this reviewer that make the film a little less impressive compared to its predecessors.  For one thing, the film feels disjointed, as our time hops and evolution of war occur a little too frequently to necessarily keep track of everything.  All the pesrpectives, while again interesting, also have too much going on, leading to breaking up a lot of scenes just as they start cooking with gas.  The result is a rather contained movie that struggles to find the approach it wants, with choppy scenes that sort of scatter the coordination rather than unite it.  This is especially true for the romance story they try to put in here, which was unnecessary giving the presentation and could have been left out.  Throw in several attempts at character development, the potential bonds that can form between a number of characters, and even the squad mates themselves and you again get sort of piece meal presentations that did not achieve what Pearl Harbor did long ago.  Once more, this reviewer feels part of this is due to how many big names they have, trying to get the most out of the big price tags that come with them.  Midway’s crew acts just fine, but there were so many missed elements and character interactions that I feel many of these people were unnecessary.  Certainly they were able to point out all the contributions they did, but to deny the full fledged chemistry and quality, well that was the disappointment for me.  Finally, the action scenes.  An action junky like me always crave for cohesive battle scenes that utilize their groups well, something that the early war movies, and even some films like Saving Private Ryan knew how to do.  In this one, all the perspectives and heroes were scattered that the action scenes felt again very sloppy and short, chopped up moments that ended too fast or how long it took to start.  Again realistically it accomplishes the portrayal, but at this point and with what the trailers built up… I wanted more out of a modern day, technological behemoth like this one looked to be.

 

The VERDICT:

 

Let’s wrap it up then shall we?  Midway accomplishes the idea of putting modern faces in traditional stories, and this theater of wars proves that trying new things does not always come together for this reviewer.  Sure, the technological advantages are good and all the actors recruited do their parts to bring the group of heroes to life and retell the legacies of men who faced the demons of war.  I’ll also again give them props for focusing a lot on the strategy and intelligence required to pull off the miracle that we did.  However, all of these perspectives and approaches to the story made for what looked like a difficulty to focus on the story they wanted to tell.  The result is again a disjointed movie that struggles to bring A games to any perspective, and relies on B and C graded stories.  Your truly would have loved a little more action to come together, as the trailers promised, but at least the intelligence parts work together to make for an engaging plot.  For special effects it qualifies for a theater visit, but outside of that, hold this one for home viewing instead.

 

My scores are:

 

Drama/War/History/Action:   6.5

Movie Overall:  6.0

Femme Fatale Fashionista! Anna The Complex Spy

Anna Poster

 

Spy films!  A chance to tell engaging, deep, intense tales utilizing the most unexpected people.  For years Bond has sort of led this revolution, but other films attempt to get into their own secrets that are less flashy and more involved with the espionage component.  This weekend, the latest jab at the spy film comes in the form of a femme fatale, where fashion and lethality mix together in an attempt to make the latest thriller for people, perhaps the female population in particular, to enjoy. Robbie K here ready for another review, this time on:

 

Director:

Luc Besson

Writer:

Luc Besson (screenplay)

Stars:

Sasha LussHelen MirrenLuke Evans

 

 

LIKES:

  • The Acting
  • The Cast
  • The Character Development
  • A Few Action Scenes
  • The Costumes and Wardrobe

 

DISLIKES:

  • The Pace
  • The Convoluted Story and Means
  • The Lack of Action/Stiff Action
  • Emphasis of Sex
  • The awkward Love Triangle
  • The Politics Again

 

Summary:  Spy films are always about the character bringing the bang to the buck for me and that requires good acting.  Sasha Luss was a great front woman for this type of film, decent balance if dialogue, the carrying of the femme fatale energy, the suaveness, and the layered emotion were executed quite well over the course of the film.  Helen Mirren as sort of her mentor/boss, another fine display of the legend’s talents to bring so much to the film.  The cast of the characters works very well together, fashioning a convoluted band of spies who are complex and untrustworthy, perfect for a movie about spies.  Yet amidst the carbon copy roles of the arrogant and monotone spies, Anna actually has a little more to her character hidden in that façade of boredom and eternal calm.  As the story unfolds, Anna starts to reveal more of the dolls nestling in this KGB spy, each layer a different element that you weren’t expecting, until the grand finale reveals the inner desire nestling within.  Impressive to have that sort of buildup in a spy thriller, but welcomed for me.  Fortunately she also manages to have some stimulation thrown in to the mix, and Anna’s got an impressive amount of gunplay accuracy and some hand to hand combat that rivals Black Widows earlier days that helps liven up the movie.  To be honest though, I loved the costumes and wardrobe of the film, with the designers doing a fantastic job of bringing the emotion to the scene through the styles and aliases that Anna wore.  It’s slick, sexy, and stunning in all form that goes so well with the themes of the movie and the character they are building, plus a few members commented how they found the clothes stunning as well, so that aspect is good too.

Here is the problem though, the pace of this movie is not quite as thrilling as the trailers made it to be.  Anna’s presentation is slow, utilizing the ideas of executing acts and then going back in a set of flashbacks to explain how it got there.  It’s unique, but after the third time of doing it, it feels like the Lord of The Rings series of constantly retelling the same tale.  These multi-layered plot elements should engage those loving spy complexity, but the average audience might find themselves snoozing or walking out (the former I had to fight).  Now while the action I think shows off the girl power motif, the problem for me (no surprise) was the lack of action and more so how stiff the sequences became. Anna’s fights are very choreographed, lacking that element of raw action that great sequences hold, and that makes the attempt at injecting suspense a little lacking. Instead the raw passion went into the sexual moments, steamy bouts of animal passion that sort of display the art of seduction to the business at hand.  While parts make sense, I would have liked a redirecting of the energy to some other elements that I had hoped Anna could show off.  Yet, the attempt at character building puts an awkward love triangle into the mix as well, one that sort of elevates the underlying means of the a tale, but again could have been redirected in a better light.  This leads me to probably the source of my limitations, the politics.  Spy films are known for the political components they are trying to usurp, but this one took the modern-day political means into a new light and it did not work for me.  The blatant statements towards modern issues becomes the central focus and in taking time to craft a character that bluntly states it, the rest of the story components sort of faltered for me. 

 

Overall, Anna has the style and suaveness in the character, crafting someone who has the attitude of the girl power movement and a spy with a little more heart nested in the stone-cold shell.  While the movie has a lot of great acting to it, it cannot offset the pace and convoluted presentation, nor the stiff action/focus on sex that did little for me.  Anna’s espionage thriller may have a lot of visual appeal, but it does not quite have the same spy spark that I look for in my spy action thrillers.  The lack of bang, and the okay story make this difficult to recommend for a theater visit, but if you are looking to get your spy flick, or want to be impressed by costume visual prowess, then have a go at this one this weekend.

 

My scores are:

Action Thriller:  7.0

Movie Overall: 6.0