Monday, October 2, 2006

"FLYBOYS"
James Franco, Martin Henderson, David Ellison, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker

Cinema 2, Shang Cineplex

Lafayette Escadrille


After going through the horrific experience of enduring 4 days and 3 nights without electricity due to the recent devastating typhoon Melenyio, it was refreshing to simply sit back in a dark theater to be entertained by a bunch of guys flying around in fighter planes during the first World War.

Flyboys is the story of ordinary American guys with different backgrounds who volunteer to train as fighter pilots in France during the first World War. A brief period in history when America wasn't actively involved yet in the battles that raged across Europe. They join a squadron known as Lafayette Escadrille, a unit in the French military.

The film starts by introducing us to each of the characters. Then it moves along by subjecting the viewer to their actual training in the luscious fields of Verdun, France. Their escapades as well as their battles way up in the blue skies over Germany pretty much form the rest of the movie. Excellently choreographed scenes of dogfights in the air between the Lafayette Escadrille squadron versus the German fighter planes is one of the highlights of this movie, well let me say the ONLY redeeming value. Their sneaky attempt at a love story angle between the lead actor and a local French woman fell flat. I don't know why they even bothered to include it. Trying to romanticize a film is just so cliche. But for me the film really perked up whenever they showed those battle scenes up in the skies. My natural instinct was to predict which of the pilots would die, how they would perish and also silently rooting for the squad whenever they were engaged in fierce battle with those menacing German fighter planes in the sky.

Character development is well acted out by actors like James Franco, Martin Henderson (woot what a mesmeric presence on screen) and of course the ubiquitous French actor in Hollywood movies, Jean Reno. Although I have to admit it, we are not really drawn to their characters unlike this other war film about the crew of a bomber plane called the "Memphis Belle" which I totally loved. I swear I can quote lines from that movie by heart. Hehe :D In "Flyboys", there are scenes where they speak in French without any English subtitles but being a Francophile I understood the dialogue. Not that it matters really because you can grasp the meaning from the scene itself. I just found it strange that they couldn't come up with a better title than the lame sounding "Flyboys". Plot wise it is pretty predictable even though it was inspired by a true story. To add some credibility they show us a few lines regarding the lives of the 'boys' after the war as the end credits roll by.

Overall, the movie had the necessary entertainment value it needed to amuse audiences. It was a thrill to watch action scenes up in the sky as opposed to those loud John Woo car crashing in loud explosions types.

In short, I was fully entertained, so be it.

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