Film Review: MIDWAY (USA 2019) ***

Midway Poster

The story of the Battle of Midway, told by the leaders and the sailors who fought it.


Roland Emmerich


Wes Tooke

It was 1976 when Jack Smight’s BATTLE OF MIDWAY starring Charlton Heston and Henry Fonda opened in the then sensational Sensurroud. Forty years later, INDEPENDENCE DAY’s director Roland Emmerich has another go at making a film on the decisive Pacific naval battle during WWII.  Though both films centred on the MIDWAY battle, the focus of both films are different.  The heroes of the first film were ridiculous fictional characters a father (Heston) and son (Edward Albert) involved with a Japanese/American immigrant while the latter, a clear improvement centred on real life heroes of the War.  Their real portraits are revealed during the film’s closing credits.

Ememrich’s MIDWAY opens a few years before the start of World War II.  The US Naval attaché in Tokyo and his counterpart discuss the US and Japanese positions in the Pacific Ocean during a state function. Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa) quietly informs intelligence officer Edwin T. Layton (Patrick Wilson) that they will take action if their oil supplies are threatened.  The film fast forwards to the morning of December 7, 1941with a 15-minute extravaganza on the shocking Japanese bombing of Pearl harbour.  This feels like Spielberg’s D-Day landing in Normandy in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.  The goal is clearly to get the audience riled up against the Japanese.  Both films show the planning that goes into both the Japanese and American sides, though clearly the prejudice is against the Japanese.

MIDWAY works at both educating on the details of a history lesson that lasts over two hours as well as entertain as a WWII super hero flick.

The superheroes are real life WWII planners and fighters.  These combatants are played by a stellar cast headed by Ed Skrein as LTA Richard Best, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Nonas, Dennis Quaid, Woody Harrelson and Mandy Moore as Bests’s wife.

Performances-wise, Skrein (GAME OF THRONES) is sufficiently cheesy as the gum-chewing maverick fighter pilot.  Patrick Wilson is the one who steals the show delivering the best performance of a worried but super bright Intelligence Officer.  There are hardly any women in this picture and Mandy Moore has the usual under-written role as the supportive wife.

The history lesson takes the audience through the several battles including the Doolittle Raid and the Coral Battle before culminating with the crucial climatic battle of MIDWAY.  The latest version clearly highlights the progress CGI and special effects have made compared to the 1976’s cheesy Sensurround.

The battles are well executed and exiting enough, though it often looks a video game.

MIDWAY costs Lionsgate a whopping $100 million to make and to date has grossed close to $80 million.  MIDWAY has garnished mixed reviews so far, but MIDWAY is more entertaining because the heroes are real who lived on the Planet Earth and not fictional heroes with made-up superpowers in some alternative Marvel Universe.  Despite a few flaws here and there, MIDWAY delivers the thrills as well as intricacies involved in strategic planning of battles in a war.



Movie Review: DEADPOOL (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

deadpoolDEADPOOL (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Tim Miller

Starrting: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller

Review by Gilbert Seah

DEADPOOL the latest Marvel comic book ‘hero’ movie arrives with great anticipation and fanfare of comic book fans. Fans know their comic book hero and expect to see a foul-mouthed, angry, sexy and ugly fighter in an R-rated movie.

First of all, some background on DEADPOOL. Those familiar with the marvel character, best described as an uncensored personality would best skip this paragraph. DEAD POOL is the name of the lead character previously known as Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). The character is less a hero than an antihero. He describes himself in the film as a bad guy paid to take out other bad guys. At first a normal human being, then voluntarily subjected to experiments in order to cure his cancer, Deadpool ends up totally mutated but also with accelerated healing powers and fighting agility. He is badly scarred especially facial wise and wears a skin tight costume. He is angry, swears all the time and beats various people up, depending on his mood. The fans expect the film to be extremely violent, especially in the already famous touted skewer scene in which Deadpool props a baddie up with his twin blades. Director Miller satisfies the fans with the segment not only shown twice, but also in slow motion.

To director Miller’s credit, the film is energetic and funny enough for the audience to be distracted from the film’s flaws. The film begins with mock opening credits that no doubt is funny at first, but soon wears out its welcome. It says for example that the film is directed by an overpaid tool with all other members of the the filmmaking team insulted except for the writers. The real credits appear at the end of the film.

The film begins with Deadpool (Reynolds) taking a cab, driven by Dopinder (Karan Soni) to fight his enemies, the main one being Francis (Ed Skrein from the TRANSPORTER remake). Deadpool has a lengthy irrelevant but hilarious conversation with Dopinder. The fight ensues, but because Deadpool has forgotten his bag of weapons, has only 12 bullets in his gun. As a result, he has to cut off his hand from a handcuff in order to escape in a garbage truck. The film flashes back to how this scene takes place. In the process, the audience learns that the film is a love story – one between Wade Wilson and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).

The film’s storytelling format is chopped up unnecessarily as if the target audience is assumed to have a very short attention span. There is no need for the excessive violence, except maybe to satisfy the hardcore Deadpool comic book fans. The humour is forced, the dialogue terribly crude and blunt and many characters appear out of nowhere. An example is the blind old back lady, Al (the wonderful Leslie Uggams) who ends up as Deadpool’s lover, living in his apartment. Her quotable line: “I miss my cocaine.” All this might be entertaining to some but on the other hand , terribly boring to others, like the film critics.
For what it is worth, DEADPOOL delivers to its core audience. The film turned out better than I expected, having very low expectations after watching the trailer. But I am not the core audience. DEADPOOL fans will definitely be pleased!


Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: