Directed by Tony Bill.
Written by Phil Sears, Blake T. Evans and David S. Ward.
Starring James Franco, Martin Henderson, Jennifer Decker and
Release Year: 2006
Review Date: 9/13/06
Ross and I went to check out "Flyboys" for
free tonight, with both of us coming in thinking the same thing:
sweet trailer, little action, a little World War I, why not?
We left thinking slightly different things.
Ross: "That was fucking terrible." Me: not
God-awful, but certainly not good. This much was apparent
throughout our theater, thanks to a crowd so old that I thought we
had free tickets to see either "Calendar Girls 2", "Grumpy Old Men
3: The Afterlife" or "Cocoon: Resurrection"--
"Flyboys" is WAY too fucking long, and with
a romantic subplot that would have made me get up to leave had I not
decided to sit in the middle of a row, at least 30 minutes could
have been trimmed away to make the film better. As it is, we
get a renegade American cowboy named Blaine (James Franco) who
decides to outrun trouble in his hometown by joining the French in
their efforts to fight the Germans in 1917 Europe. Along with
a handful of other brave American, English and French pilots, Blaine
learns to fly in just a few weeks and uses his training to take down
those nasty German pilots in biplanes so fragile that one stray
bullet could end your mission. Of course, no war movie
featuring B-list or lower stars would be complete without a
completely useless romantic subplot, featuring a Frenchwoman
(Jennifer Decker) who speaks no English and has three kids living at
her humble home in the French countryside.
Ugh. At least make the romantic
subplot worth watching!
"Flyboys" is an interesting action/horror
film when it sticks to the skies; when you really think about it,
how crazy was it to fight other pilots in airplanes that weren't
even in existence ten years prior? As one character poses to
another mid-film, who would even imagine that this flying thing
would go anywhere? By the time you have pilots getting shot up
and realizing that there is no ejector seat in a biplane and
parachuting out of airplanes was not around yet, I was scared to
death for anybody that decided hopping in a plane was a good battle
Save for this one element, "Flyboys" is
pretty poor. The action in the sky doesn't have a good oomph
when it comes to being gritty; the PG-13 rating will kill that off a
bit, eh? The pilots don't seem to mesh well, and at no point
do you buy their chemistry, despite the fact that many of them seem
to hang together on the base where they are stationed...Franco, for
all of his good looks, is a flat-out stiff, and nothing in "Flyboys"
makes me think differently. The supporting cast, led mainly by
Martin Henderson (he starred in "Bride & Prejudice" and, well,
"Torque") and Jean
Reno as the team's flight instructor/senior officer, blows; even
lesser actors play the other members to such ill effect that you
find yourself wishing for the romantic angle to come back, before
you catch yourself and realize how bad that was in the first place!
The score sucks; the lion that hangs out at
the base looks like it is CGI (and I would put good money on that
fact), but then you realize that even if it's real, why spend so
much time emphasizing that one of the pilots even fucking has the
lion? Whether or not this group had exactly one Negro pilot
isn't of interest to me; it's the fact that the Negro was even
included in this nonsense. The script gives us three or four
cheap below-the-belt moments thanks to the fact that in 1917,
there's fucking one black guy in the whole fucking world that wants
to fly airplanes, and even when he gets there, the Americans spend
time wondering if rubbing his head would be good luck, if he is a
former slave, and if he enjoys being called "Chocolate." Come
the fuck on!
Did I mention that the film is 130 minutes?
Again, save for some eye-opening moments as you wonder what life
might be like flying airplanes in a war about 90 years ago,
"Flyboys" is not a very good film. But, at least I saw it for
free, because I was certainly going to drop money on it had I not
gotten the freebie. Phew!
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard