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Your English is getting so good

Megan Mowbray

There are more than one or two errors in “Flyboys.”Although I am no fighter pilot, I am pretty sure that some of the more daring maneuvers used to dodge the bad guys would pretty much be impossible in the planes actually used in WWI. The pilots in the film even admit their planes have little ability to turn and steer sharply. And then in the movie, all the Germans had red planes, except the really, really bad guy, whose plane is, of course, black. In WWI there was only one German who had a red plane, and that was Manfred von somethingerother’s plane.

But who cares about factual accuracy? This is a feel-good movie about the Lafayette Escadrille, a smorgasbord of Americans from all races and economic classes who signed up to help the French in WWI and became the country’s first fighter pilots.

Yes, war is the great equalizer, as our plot brings together a black boxer, daddy’s rich boy, a religious man, and a good ol’ cowboy, played by James Franco. After these guys get over all their differences in a day or two, they quickly become friends and learn how to fly planes (the ones that didn’t exist then).

The bad guys are the Germans, one in particular, who bears a black falcon on his plane. Very film noir. In fact, many of the scenes in the air have a certain film noir sensibility to them. Which is odd, because while these guys had to be in range to shoot each other, I doubt they are close enough to be throwing manly glares from cockpit to cockpit. Or, if they are, no one is really going to notice which eyebrow the guy has cocked when he’s about to shoot you down to a fiery, painful and frightening death.

That said, the fighting scenes were pretty cool. Especially the big blow out at the end with the dirigible. Two thumbs up for computer technology and green screens. Director Tony Bill played around nicely with camera angles from all directions, illustrating the confusion and the often extreme terror those pilots must have felt.

Of course when you get a group of guys all together doing manly things like saving the world against the Germans, there will be a cheese factor. And to Franco’s credit, it was not performed nearly as badly in “Flyboys” as it was in his recent blahbuster “Annapolis.” He is a much better pilot than a navy soldier, anyway.

The movie ends as it should, the Americans come into the war, which actually happened in case you aren’t a history buff. Some people die and some don’t. Cowboy Rawlings goes back to Texas and gets his ranch. But the director really let the ball drop when he didn’t tie up the fighter pilots’ mascot lion, Whiskey, played by Shaka the lion (who is hurting for a gig if you know of anything). Personally, I think Whiskey should have gone back to Texas with Rawlings and been the first lion on an American ranch. But that is just my opinion.


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