Here's a tough assignment for any self-respecting director: a Transformers
knock-off, board-game adaptation, and military recruitment film all rolled into one. Peter Berg (Hancock
, Friday Night Lights
) does his best with the material, adopting an unfashionably earnest tone and a Fordian depiction of military families. He also sets a tempo markedly slower than Michael Bay's, suggesting an affinity with more old-fashioned Hollywood entertainment (the first half hour even references The Best Years of Our Lives
and Jerry Lewis's The Bellboy
). But once the special effects take over, Berg has little room to assert his personality (or tell a story, for that matter), and the movie feels like a chore. With Taylor Kitsch, Liam Neeson, and pop singer Rihanna, all pretty likable.
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