Flyboys

"Weak"

Flyboys Review


Airplanes parked on runways aren't very exciting. Sure, the motionless crafts contain the components necessary for flight, but they only achieve their fullest potential when they leave the ground and soar through the skies.

The same can be said for Flyboys. When its protagonists are grounded, Tony Bill's recounting of the birth of World War I fighter pilots resembles every other ham-fisted tale of historic heroism that has come down the cinematic pipe. But the movie triumphs when these men climb into their cockpits and finally fly.

Bland James Franco leads the baby-faced pack of soldiers who, in 1914, felt they had something to prove to their girlfriend/father/squad leader/general. The brave adventurers enlist in France's fledgling Lafayette Escadrille, a small group of pilots trained by General Thenault (Jean Reno, Hollywood's go-to French actor), who pioneered an aerial attack in the Great War against Germany. What these boys don't learn before signing on the dotted line is that the Lafayette Escadrille embarks on what are basically suicide missions. Life expectancy of a pilot in the program is three to six weeks.

That doesn't stop former ranch hand Blaine Rawlings (Franco) from pouring his heart into the war effort. Flyboys takes a perversely upbeat approach to combat. The new recruits march past maimed soldiers, yet forget the horrors of war once they spot the royal estate that serves as their barracks. The surviving members of Lafayette Escadrille regroup each evening to carouse in the military base's makeshift watering hole - since they're all on borrowed time, we're told they can't waste precious minutes honoring the dead. Yet in a scene that rings particularly false, Franco uses his airplane (which we've been lectured is a killing machine) to romance a local French girl (Jennifer Decker) and entertain her brother's children. Try to ignore the fact that the kids' father was decimated in a battle-related explosion not too long ago. We're supposed to be having fun here, people.

These lighter moments and the softened tone conflict with the film's impressive but lethal combat scenes. The men of Lafayette Escadrille risk life and limb on scarred battlefields recreated using the finest digital effects available. As mentioned, Flyboys drastically improves once in the air. Bill and his effects team rocket model planes through dizzying aeronautic sequences, though his action relies too heavily on blue-screen treatments and the airborne clashes grow repetitive over the film's long running time (2 hours and 20 minutes... about 40 minutes too long).

The edgy flight shots and stimulating biplane battles make Flyboys a better movie. They just don't make it a good one.

The two-disc DVD set includes a full-length commentary from Bill and Dean Devlin. The second disc includes making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, and a DVD-ROM game.

It's not a balloon, it's a zeppelin! An airship!



Flyboys

Facts and Figures

In Theaters: Friday 22nd September 2006

Box Office USA: $13.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $17.8M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: MGM

Production compaines: Flyboys Films, Electric Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, Skydance Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Fresh: 42 Rotten: 85

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Duncan Reid, James Clayton

Starring: as Blaine Rawlings, Scott Hazell as Cinema Usher, Mac McDonald as Sheriff Detweiller, as William Jensen, Todd Boyce as Mr. Jensen, Karen Ford as Mrs. Jensen, as Laura, Abdul Salis as Eugene Skinner, as Mr. Lowry, as Briggs Lowry, Gail Downey as Mrs. Lowry, David Ellison as Eddie Beagle, Augustin Legrand as L.T. Giroux, Keith McErlean as Vernon Toddman, as Capt. Thenault, Jennifer Decker as Lucienne

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.