Directed by: Tony Bill
Premise: A group of young American men join the French air force during the early years of World War I.
What Works: James Franco does well as cowboy-turned-pilot Blaine Rawlings, using his charm to increase the presence of his thinly drawn role.
What Doesn’t: All other characters in the film are shoved to the side. Although the film purports to be about the camaraderie of men in the service, there is little to bind the men together or to the audience. This is essentially a World War II film in the World War I setting. The film does not acknowledge the horror or the moral ambiguity of World War I. The film has nothing to say, no perspective on its subject, it just goes through the motions of the war hero story. Some of the special effects in the flying sequences are very poorly done and these sequences often feel more like a video game than a motion picture.
Bottom Line: Flyboys has more in common with Aces: Iron Eagle III than it does with Top Gun or All Quiet on the Western Front. Like other Franco vehicles, the film may appeal to adolescent girls for its handsome male leads, but there is not much here for the rest of us.
Episode: #116 (November 5, 2006)