Cast: James Franco
Studio: MGM
Rating: 5/10

THE STORY: “Flyboys,” the first World War I aviation film in over 40 years, is inspired by the epic, courageous tale of the American young men who would become known as the legendary Lafayette Escadrille. They were ordinary boys who volunteered for the first World War looking for adventure, and in the process, they became heroes. Never before has a movie so accurately portrayed the thrill and danger of the aerial dogfights that played such an integral role in the Allied resistance.

In 1917, prior to the official entry into the war by the United States, the Allied powers of France, England and Italy were on the ropes against the German juggernaut. Some altruistic young Americans volunteered to fight alongside their counterparts in France. Some joined the infantry, others chose the Ambulance Corps. But 38 young men had a different idea: they decided to learn how to fly.

Their motivations for enlisting may have been different: Blaine Rawlings (James Franco) is searching for his purpose following the bank’s foreclosure of his family ranch, Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine) is shamed into joining by his disciplinarian father, while African-American expatriate boxer Eugene Skinner (Abdul Salis) vows to repay his debt to his adopted, racially-tolerant country. But under the command of French Captain Thenault (Jean Reno) and the leadership of American veteran Reed Cassidy (Martin Henderson), these young American men took to the air with honor everyday as they risked their lives, not just in facing the formidable German aggressors, but also in boarding their newly-invented, mechanically-imperfect aircraft, which were being used in combat for the first time.

Inspired by the true story of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille, “Flyboys” is directed by Academy Award ®-winner Tony Bill (“The Sting”) and produced by Dean Devlin (“The Patriot,” “Independence Day,” “Stargate”) and Marc Frydman (ABC’s “Commander in Chief”). James Franco (“Spiderman,” “Spiderman 2”) stars with Marin Henderson (“The Ring”) and Jean Reno (“The Da Vinci Code”).

THE REVIEW: Flyboys is another “true story.” It seems the more a movie says it’s a true story the more they are trying to convince us a bad movie is good. Maybe everyday life is full of clichés because ever “true story” seems to be full of them. Flyboys is no different as the hero has a love interest who has to deal with the fact that her man faces death and he has to deal with living for her or dying for his cause.

This is one step in a long line of bad movie making. It’s obvious that Flyboys had a monster budget and it didn’t matter. No amount of money was able to fix a bad script. And this is a perfect example of CG going way overboard. It would have been nice to see real airplanes rather than complete computer generated planes, dogfights, and every other bit of action. As cool as the trailer looks it didn’t do the movie justice. Flyboys is a bad movie. It’s a shame. When is the last time we had a great dog fight movie? 1930?

FRANKLY: Flyboys is an overblown mess. A huge budget was squandered on a movie that should have been exciting. The trailer made Flyboys out to be the must see movie of the fall. Too bad Flyboys is the sleeper bust of the fall and an epic disaster.

+ Charlie Craine

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