Two flyboys (Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett) love the same girl (Kate Beckinsale)—until the Japanese Empire briefly takes their minds off their troubles. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Michael Bay try to become epic artists, but the boorish, bull-in-a-china-shop habits they developed with The Rock
are too hard to shake. The mossy clichés of Randall Wallace’s script don’t help, but Bay’s ineptitude is so complete he can’t even pull off the old handsome-young-hero-back-from-the-dead scene. The attack itself is a muddle of explosions, aerial stunts, and bomb’s-eye-views, but it’s all curiously bloodless (mustn’t endanger that PG-13 rating), and gleaming with computer-generated fakery. At just under three hours, this bloated catastrophe feels longer than World War II itself.