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Boyhood friends Rafe McCawley, Ben Affleck, and Danny Walker, Josh Hartnett, live to fly, and they join the flying corps of the U.S. Army, eventually posted to a base in Hawaii. Rafe falls for army nurse Evelyn Johnson, Kate Beckinsale, after she injects his backside, but he goes off to fly with the RAF during the Battle of Britain soon to be reported missing in action, whereupon the flighty Evelyn takes up with Danny. But Rafe isn`t dead (how could he be?) He returns to Hawaii just prior to the unheralded Japanese attack on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor....History is given short shrift in this new film from the director of Armageddon. All Michael Bay seems interested in is the action, the pyrotechnics - and the 40 minute sequence of the attack on Pearl Harbor is, unquestionably, exciting in a deafening kind of way. But not only has the opportunity to explore the political events that led up to the attack been by-passed, so has the possibility of depicting a convincing adult love story. The characters in Randall Wallace`s dull screenplay are strictly from stock, cliched caricatures whose fates are utterly predictable. And just as we think the film`s over, we`re hauled off to a whole other plot involving the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in 1942. As the crippled President Roosevelt, Jon Voight seems to be doing an imitation of Peter Sellers in DR. Strangelove, and the characters played by Cuba Gooding Jr and Tom Sizemore seem to have pretty much ended up on the cutting room floor. And what`s with the dogma-like hand held, soft-focussy nonsense in the hospital after the raid? Pearl Harbor isn`t very good, except when it does what it was made to do - show off Hollywood`s latest technology. That it does formidably well.

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