“ Genre: War & Western - War / Theatrical Release: 2006 / Director: Tony Bill / Actors: James Franco, Scott Hazell ... / DVD released 30 January, 2007 at MGM / Features of the DVD: AC-3, Colour, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC „
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Recently most of the films I have been watching have been of quite a variety of genres but there was on I hadnt really covered yet and that was a historical drama, war film. The one I decided on was Flyboys, I had heard of it being out a while back and it had really appealed to me at the time but then of course I never got there quick enough and it had gone out of the cinema. All I knew was it was about men who flew the fighter planes during the First World War and that James Franco was in it which isnt a lot to go by but it still appealed and so I made sure that I was going to see this film even if I hadnt heard a lot of praise or feedback of any kind on it.
The film begins with us seeing each individual man and his life before flying off to France to become a part of the Lafayette Escadrille fighter jet squad. Firstly we see Blaine Rawlings (James Franco) sitting in the cinema, someone warns him he should leave town because someone will try to arrest him for some kind of fight so Blaine then decides to volunteer for France. We are also introduced to the other one leaving his girlfriend and his family to go serve in the war and the other a boxer who is black and would not normally be treated well in these circumstances but who wants to be of service. Also, another we see is a man whos father does not accept him or feel he has done nothing with his life after dropping out of Harvard, so he is going to prove to him he can do something.
The men soon arrive in France and get to work and start their training with Captain Thenault (Jean Reno). While being spoken to the men notice an aircraft flying low and all look a bit worried but the pilot who steps out is one of the best in the squad his name is Reed Cassidy (Martin Henderson) who instantly informs the men that a typical pilots life expectancy is 3 to 6 weeks to bring the reality to them as all of his friends are now dead. He gives the men a hard time at first but only because they have not really been into a real fight yet and know nothing of what most of the men deal with every day.
Soon, the men finally complete their training mission and are ready to really soar to the skies and begin to serve their country well. The men all find it ok at first until they come into contact with real German planes and then the injuries and fighting side of them all comes out. It is not as easy as it seemed at first and soon a few of them start to get killed which makes the film more realistic. The men all go through a big transformation and are soon losing people they have known as friends every day. Finally Cassidy and the other pilots begin to accept the men as they are now killers and can drink with them since pretty much everyone else is dead.
I found this film brilliant and I do like a good war film but not a gory plotless one which this is by no means. The acting is brilliant and it is not just a film about pilots but one of love, relationships, self respect, loyalty and courage. The men go out there daily risking their lives for their country and for one another. They are human and some cannot cope and some are not in the air long enough to fight as they want to defeat as many planes as possible. I like the relationship which develops between Blaine and the French Girl Lucienne (Jennifer Decker) they fall in love without speaking the same language and it is nice how their love grows.
The film does justice to the pilots of the War and probably portrays it in a less gory way but I also liked how this film had a realistic ending and followed up on each character to show what they did with their lives after serving their time. James Franco was a great lead and having only seen him in the Spiderman films this really showed me a new acting side to him. He was more real in this, less fictional and it showed he was a strong actor with the ability to take this challenging role and make the audience feel for him.
Jean Reno didnt play a huge part in this but he was good as the Captain and had a way with the other men as to get through to them. He wasnt in this a lot but at the scenes he was he dominated the screen.
The film was one which passed very quickly and is action packed especially in the flight scenes. It has you hating people one minute, on the edge of your seat in another fearing for the men and then awing at the relationships. It makes you go through all of the emotions and is a really realistic but strong plot and I feel it is ashame this film didnt get as much hype as I think it should have. There have been a lot of war films out but not focusing on the fighter planes which is what makes this different as it shows you a knew aspect of history.
The film is a 12A certificate and lasts approximately 140 minutes. It is able to purchase on pre-order at Play.com for £10.99 or at Playusa.com for the Region 1 version which is in stock at £15.99.
Official Website: http://www.flyboysdvd.com/