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Red Baron (Blu-ray)

Released on 05 October 2009

Featuring: Tomás Koutník, Tomás Ibl & Albert Franc

Format: Blu-ray | Rating: 12 years & over

4.0 out of 5 (2 customer reviews) | Write a review

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September 1916 - a young aristocrat, Baron Manfred von Richthofen (Matthias Schweighöfer - Valkyrie), is transferred to a German fighter division.

Numerous kills, his trademark bright red plane and the heroic conquests of his 'Flying Circus' squadron soon make him a German hero. Yet manipulated by the High Command propaganda machine and distracted by fame, he remains blind to the true cost of conflict.

Only when injured and shown the horrors of a field hospital by a German nurse (Lena Headley - Terminator, Sarah Connor Chronicles), does he begin to understand there is more to war than his beloved aerial duels.

Reticent and disillusioned, but unflinchingly loyal to his men, the feared Baron knows he cannot stop flying. But even for this living legend, each new mission could be his last.

Packed with incredible aerial combat scenes, this is the story of the greatest fighter pilot of all time.
  • *Artwork Subject To Change

customer Reviews

 Average rating (2 reviews)

 fantastic CGI & Sound ((( A MUST BUY )))

| | See all premiredvds2003's reviews (7)

The action in the air is exceptional - a seamless crafting of photography and CGI effects. The writer / director has done a good job of portraying the qualities of the characters - their noble and chivalrous ways, whilst balancing his message about the senselessness of the conflict itself and the terrible cost in human lives. That might make some of the acting seem low key to some, but I found it a nice change from the usual war hero films.

 GOOD BUT NOT HISTORICALLY ACCURATE!

| | See all Quiggan's reviews (166)

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This biopic stars MATTHAIS SCHWEIGHOFER as Prussian aristocrat, Manfred Von Richthofen, the highest scoring ace of The Great War.

Despite his tally of at least eighty victories (several of his early kills were unconfirmed), however, very few of them are actually seen here and the film contains much less aerial combat than I would have expected considering the vast achievements of its central character.

What flying sequences there are though are excellent and often seen from the pilots perspective. Melees become scrappy, disordered affairs with aircraft losing their formations in the heat of the moment as pilots pick their targets and avoid the shells bursting around them. Brilliant CGI work creates stunning imagery, from rows of artillery pieces firing rounds across no-mans-land to squadrons of aircraft dog-fighting above the trenches and amongst observation balloons. These action scenes are well handled by Director NIKOLAI MULLERSCHON, bringing home some of the terror and confusion of this (then) new type of warfare and includes a tense, but brief, night attack too.

Of course, like with many modern war films the battle scenes are interwoven with a romantic storyline and here much screen time is given to the growing relationship between Richthofen and young nurse Kate Ostorsdorf (LENA HEADEY), who gradually shows him the true horrors of war at the local field hospital where she works. Although intended to add a Human aspect to the proceedings, the scenes with SCHWEIGHOFER and HEADEY have the distinct disadvantage of slowing the pace of the whole film.

There are further niggles, mainly that historical accuracy has been changed for drama. The duel with and death of renowned British flier Major Lanoe Hawker, for example, took much longer than suggested here and Hawker was in reality flying one of the DH2 planes which proved totally outclassed by Richthofens Albatross DIII. Captain Roy Brown (JOSEPH FIENNES) - sometimes controversially credited with killing Richthofen - is given a heavily padded role in which he is first shot down by the Baron, nursed back to health by Kate and later meets Richthofen on much friendlier terms in a somewhat unlikely meeting. In sharp contrast Richthofens great friend and rival ace Werner Voss (TIL SCHWEIGER) receives much less screen time than he deserves!

Despite all the mystery surrounding Richthofens final flight this is not even shown in the film at all! We merely see him climb into the cockpit before the screen fades to black and in the next scene Kate is looking at his wreath. Director NIKOLAI MULLERSCHON perhaps did not wish to offend anybody, especially the memory of his subject, by doing this but I feel he could have been braver here and included more aerial footage as a result. In a way it was like watching a race but not being present at the finishing line.

Special features on the disc include a Making Of documentary and Visual Effects Feature (at 21 minutes and 12 minutes respectively), several outtakes (4 minutes) and five cut scenes (none of which feature aerial combat unfortunately) at almost 6 minutes. There is also the Original Theatrical Trailer, a Music Video and Production Gallery which also includes archive photographs of Richthofen himself. The sound and picture quality are very good on Blu-Ray but sadly no subtitles are included.

While not a classic of the genre, fans should certainly enjoy THE RED BARON as long as they do not expect a historically correct biopic packed with endless dog-fights.

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ActorsTomás Koutník, Tomás Ibl, Albert Franc, Matthias Schweighöfer, Maxim Mehmet, Hanno Koffler, Til Schweiger, Richard Krajco, Joseph Fiennes, Steffen Schroeder, Lukás Príkazký, Lena Headey & Ondrej Volejník
DirectorNikolai Müllerschoen
Certificate12 years and over
Year2008
Duration1 hour and 42 minutes (approx)