it was that war in the
air began. Men rode upon
the whirlwind and slew
and fell like archangels.
The sky rained heroes
upon the astonished
— H G Wells
BEAUTIFULLY FILMED, with elegant aeroplanes dancing in the air like a host
of butterflies, this film is essentially a First World War film with a series
of mini stories running through it — including a budding romance.
From the producers of Independence Day and The Patriot, this riveting
and delightful film is a must-see, not only for its thrilling aerial combat
sequences and amazing special effects but also for the brilliant acting and
A motley group of ill-matched young Americans volunteer for the French military
to become the country's first fighter pilots and end up at Lafayette Escadrille
Airdrome in Verdun, France, before the United States officially joins the First
Among them are Blaine Rawlings (James Franco, Spiderman 2, James Dean),
who has had his ranch repossessed; Skinner (Abdul Salis), a black boxer who
has been treated well in France and wants to fight for the country that welcomed
him; and Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine) whose wealthy father insists he goes to
war to uphold the family name and who has black servants. The wonderfully straightforward
Jean Reno (The Davinci Code, Ronin, Leon) plays Captain
Therault and Jennifer Decker the love interest Lucienne, whose brother and sister-in-law
have been killed.
After a run-in with the squadron's mascot, each other and a veteran fighter
— who believes the recruits have to prove themselves before they are accepted
— the "Knights of the Air" address their prejudices and rub along fairly well
together. Their first aerial fight is particularly well crafted from the moment
they take to the skies, and there are human touches and a sense of honour that
bring the film to life as they encounter the enemy. (Even at this point, nobody
says "Get the Fokkers!")
The love story between Rawlings and Lucienne is very subtle and sweet, evoking
— as everything in this film does — a perfect sense of period. There is a lot
of good interaction between the characters but Flyboys also reflects
the senselessness of war with young pilots being killed and their friends having
to come to terms with the loss.
Although the airplane had only recently been invented, it was quickly adapted
into a war machine. Flyboys captures the excitement and passion of early
flight and a heart-warming feeling of freedom and peace accompanies the soaring
planes. The film is inspired by 'the true story' and it is accompanied by a
As the Germans press-on through France, the tension mounts and lives are lost
or changed forever. The film also stars Martin Henderson as Reed Cassidy, David
Ellison as Eddie Beagle and Tim Piggott-Smith as Lowry's father.
Directed by Tony Bill and with superb visual effects supervised by Mark Franco,
Flyboys skirts around the usual explicitly-gory scenes from the horrors
of war and is a mainly gentle but honest reflection of the brave airmen from
the 'war to end all wars'.
The DVD release of Flyboys from Twentieth
Century Fox Home Entertainment is on sale now.
Special features: Commentary by Director Tony Bill and Producer Dean Devlin
| Deleted Scenes | Featurette: The Flyboys Ride with Air Force Thunderbirds
and The Navy Blue Angels | Featurette: Taking Flight — The Making of Aerial
Battle Sequences. Flyboys — definitely one to keep and watch again and