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Flyboys

Released on 08 October 2007

Featuring: James Franco, Scott Hazell & Mac McDonald

Format: DVD | Rating: 12 years & over

3.0 out of 5 (19 customer reviews) | Write a review

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From the producer of Independence Day and The Patriot, and starring James Franco (Spider-Man 3), Flyboys soars to new cinematic heights with spectacular special effects and thrilling, edge-of-your-seat aerial dogfights. Inspired by the true story of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille, this action-packed epic tells the tale of America's first fighter pilots. These courageous young men distinguish themselves in a manner that none before them had dared, becoming true heroes who experience triumph, tragedy, love, and loss amid the chaos of World War I. Hang on for the ride of your life!

customer Reviews

 Average rating (19 reviews)

 Enjoyable Action Flick

| | See all negativecreep's reviews (31)

It does seem somewhat odd that there are so few films set in World War One, especially compared to the Second World War or Vietnam. When you talk about WW1 planes, the number drops even further (The Blue Max is the only one that springs to mind) so it's nice to see a new take on something that most are likely to be unfamiliar with.

The main thing to remember is this is primarily and action film. Don't expect Saving Private Ryan levels of realism or All Quiet on the Western Front levels of insight. Don't even expect much in the way of realistic physics or historical accuracy (it is not the Red Baron depicted in this film and contrary to popular belief the famous Fokker Triplanes were not all red, rather red and white). Again, don't expect that much in the way of plot or originality, as our protagonists all conform to the usual military cliches. You get the gruff but kindly commander, the war weary squadron leader, the rebellious one, the religious one and the black one (admittedly, the latter is historically accurate.)

What you will is a well paced and throughly enjoyable film, with some excellent dogfights that more than make up for deficiencies elsewhere. It's a far better film than Pearl Harbour as well (ok, so that's not exactly hard.) Treat this film like a live action version of one of the old Commando comic books and you won't go far wrong.

 Really Bad!!!

| | See all volusia's reviews (41)

I had to stop watching this film well before it finished. What can I say, if you like war films where the Americans depict themselves as being the only reason the war was won ( any war, doesn't matter which one ), then you might enjoy this. I found it tedious and quite unrealistic, yes I know it's only a film but I thought it was bad. Hire before you buy is my advice.

 A wasted opportunity.

| | See all 3LCosmo's reviews (11)

This film could have been so good. How could anyone not make an exciting and gripping movie about such a fascinating subject? Surely all they had to do was go to the historical records and simply draw together some of the incredible real-life stories of the brave (or foolish) young men who entered a war that wasn't theirs for either idealistic reasons or for the romantic thrill of being at the cutting edge of the very new technology of aerial combat. Instead what this film delivers is a series of clichéd characters and plot that is so predictable to be downright boring. The aerial combat scenes, while very pretty, fail to deliver the feeling of a life-or-death struggle and slip into the ridiculous more than once. If you want the real thing get a copy of the 1966 classic "The Blue Max".

 HISTORICALLY INACCURATE BUT NEVERTHELESS ENTERTAINING!

| | See all Quiggan's reviews (166)

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FLYBOYS is one of those very rare things, like the silent classic WINGS or the popular George Peppard hit, THE BLUE MAX - a film about pilots in The Great War! Unlike its aforementioned predecessors, though, FLYBOYS relies heavily on CGI for its flying sequences, which can only be expected from the same producer of the Sci-Fi extravaganza, INDEPENDENCE DAY.

The film deals with the real-life Lafayette Escadrille squadron, a formation of American pilots who fought with the French air force before their home country joined the conflict. As can often happen with war films, FLYBOYS also falls into the trap of stereotyping many of the characters. For example, there is the pilot who joins to escape crippling debts, the rich boy trying to prove himself to his overbearing father, the underage recruit and the Negro battling for acceptance among his white colleagues.

For the first half an hour, action is restricted firmly on the ground as the new recruits complete their basic training under the watchful eye of their French commander, Captain Thenault - a superb but underused Jean Reno. As few combat films deal with training in this period, though, it proves quite an insight in this aspect!

Then the squadron finally becomes airborne for the first of several exciting aerial encounters with a Jasta of experienced German pilots flying the famous Fokker Dr. I Tri-plane, the one in which Manfred Von Richthofen scored his last "kills". Prominent in this squadron is a pilot known as The Black Falcon, a ruthless but deadly efficient flyer who causes more than a few problems - and casualties - for the Lafayette Escadrille. He fights brutally, likes to see the faces of his defeated victims and thinks nothing of machine-gunning grounded pilots. He is the long-standing nemesis of the Lafayette's leading ace, Cassidy, who seeks him at every opportunity.

Much of the film's budget has gone into creating the CGI effects and for the most part they are great, using new motion-capture techniques (as explained in one of the featurettes) for the aircraft and even a mighty Zeppelin airship which makes an appearance!

Problems? Well, a romance between James Franco's Rawlings and a young French woman detracts from the action and takes up a fair amount of screen time, while the CGI effects on occasion allow the planes to achieve feats which were surely impossible for such fragile craft. Furthermore, excluding the Zeppelin and a Gotha bomber the Lafayette squadron intercepts, all the German fliers seem to have the Fokker Dr. I Tri-planes. True, some pilots flew them but surprisingly the historically much more numerous Albatross Bi-planes are never seen at all and the film seems to assume that the Americans meet the same German Jasta every time they patrol the front line!

There is a small selection of special Features on the disc including an audio commentary, two brief but informative featurettes and six deleted scenes - none of which, rather disappointingly, include aerial footage.

Although certainly not the best or most realistic film about The Great War, by treating FLYBOYS as what it really is - an action picture - viewers should be entertained as long as they do not expect a compelling, true-to-life history lesson!

 Great fun.

| | See all IndianaDrones's reviews (16)

An enjoyable 'boys own' style adventure that harkens back to the days of Biggles. This is an enjoyable film that says a lot about the bravery of the pilots who flew in the first world war.

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ActorsJames Franco, Scott Hazell, Mac McDonald, Philip Winchester, Todd Boyce, Michael Jibson, Karen Ford, Ruth Bradley, Abdul Salis, Tim Pigott-Smith, Tyler Labine, Gail Downey, David Ellison, Jean Reno & Augustin Legrand
DirectorTony Bill
Certificate12 years and over
Year2006
ScreenWidescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic
LanguagesEnglish - Dolby Digital (5.1)
Duration2 hours and 20 minutes (approx)
RegionRegion 2 - Will only play on European Region 2 or multi-region DVD players.