Bay and Bruckheimer's previous movie, the action-fest Armageddon, is crudely rehashed here, with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941 standing in for global holocaust - but at inflated cost and length, and with added romance. Is the money on the screen? Yes, because massive WWII-style air attacks are astronomically expensive to mount these days. And on a purely technical level, the team's thrilling mastery of the cinematic kinesis of exploding matter is reaffirmed (though Hans Zimmer's martial-romantic noise is acceptably muted). Visually, the alternating paradise-island gloss and nuclear-fallout chic drips money like one long advertisement. The plot endlessly strings out a standard love triangle - Tennessee crop-duster's son turned ace pilot Rafe (Affleck, overawed) and his childhood pal and fellow pilot Danny (Hartnett, cute as fuck) set their caps in turn at nurse Evelyn (Beckinsale) - you know won't be over by next Christmas. Bare grace notes include the stately procession of standing officers in dress whites through the carnage, accompanied by a Barber-esque adagio; and Gooding's 'Dorie' Miller, the cook who understates his conspicuous bravery. Otherwise this bunk is history.
Cast and crew
Cuba Gooding Jr