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Flyboys [Blu-ray]
Actors: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell, Mac McDonald
Director: Tony Bill
Genres: Action & Adventure
PG-13     2007     2hr 20min

Inspired by the true story of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille, this action-packed epic tells the tale of America's first fighter pilots. These courageous young men distinguish themselves in a manner that none before the...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: James Franco, Jean Reno, Jennifer Decker, Scott Hazell, Mac McDonald
Director: Tony Bill
Creators: David Brown, Dean Devlin, Duncan Reid, James Clayton, Blake T. Evans, David S. Ward, Phil Sears
Genres: Action & Adventure
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Anamorphic - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 01/30/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 20min
Screens: Color,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, English, French, Spanish
Subtitles: Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

Better than I was led to believe
Monkdude | Hampton, Virginia | 09/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"The critics don't like it for the most part, but I really had a good time. Flyboys won't win any awards, but it sure entertained my packed theater. People laughed at most of the little jokes scattered throughout this long film. Clocking in at over two hours it is a bit too long and some of the dialogue is lacking, but the romance is handled well (unlike Pearl Harbor, thank God!), as are the many amazing CGI dogfight scenes. If your bored one afternoon, you should check out Flyboys, otherwise just wait for the DVD."
Historically accurate?
Keith Thompson | Ft. Thomas, KY United States | 01/14/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Flyboys is a decent adventure film, but with apologies to reviewer Monty Rainey, it can hardly be praised for its historical accuracy. The computer-generated planes zip around more like jet fighters than WW1 planes, making snap-rolls & vertical climbs rather than Immelman turns & the slower, more gradual maneuvers the real planes were capable of. The Nieuports the Escadrille fly were obsolete & replaced by Spads by late 1916/early 1917 (when the movie takes place--they mention the USA entering the war which was April, 1917), and the Fokker Triplane didn't enter service until the winter of 1917 & never in great numbers (very few were red by the way). These quibbles aside, what really destroys the believabilty of the movie is when one of the Flyboys gets shot down & crashes in no-man's land (at a point where the German & French lines seem to be about 50 yards apart when a half mile is about the closest they ever actually got). Though he's in the cockpit when it crashes, the pilot somehow gets his hand trapped between the ground & the upper wing (which miraculously didn't collapse when the plane flipped upside down). And he can't get it out! His friend has to land (apparently also in no-man's land), run THRU no-man's land perpendicular to all the Germans shooting at him, & help his friend get his hand out. (I won't spoil it by saying how.) WW1 fighters weighed roughly 1000 lbs, with the engine & guns comprising over half the total weight. The top wing his hand was trapped under would have weighed about 100 lbs total. If your hand was trapped under one side, you'd simply lift it off with your free hand. Also the trailing edge of the Nieuport was made up of a pine-wood stringer which was one inch square. He could have cut your way thru it with a penknife. OR, since his hand was trapped between the wing & the GROUND, he could have simply dug the earth away underneath it.
Other blatant inaccuracies: the Germans invade with tanks of British design a year before the tank was invented; they've made a massive breakthrough within a few miles of the airfield & the pilots (& the hero's French girlfriend living in the war zone) are completely unaware of it; the hero takes off at night, lands (where? in a field, in the dark?) by his girl friend's house, & none of the thousands of German soldiers in the area hear the plane. . .
For all that, it's not a bad action movie, but as far as being realistic? They should have just made the movie about the real Escadrille pilots. Raoul Lufbery's true exploits would have been much more exciting. (To anyone interested in the true story of the Escadrille, I heartily recommend Jeff Shaara's novel about WW1, TO THE LAST MAN. And for a movie that gets to the heart of what flying in WW1 was really like, try THE DAWN PATROL with Errol Flynn (coming out in March on dvd)."
Pretty good WWI aerial drama
T O'Brien | Chicago, Il United States | 12/26/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Flyboys didn't last long in theaters upon its release, but don't let that scare you away, it's an above average WWI period drama. During World War I, a group of American pilots joined the fighting in Europe before the United States entered the war in 1918. Flying for the French, they were named the Lafayette Escadrille. The movie follows five or six freshly arrived pilots, most notably James Franco as Texan Blaine Rawlings, as they train and learn how to fly and ultimately join the war as they take on German fighters, most notably the Black Falcon, a German pilot who doesn't follow the "rules of war." All in all, this was a pretty good movie. It's by no means a great movie, but it kept me entertained for the full 140 minute running time. The added love story isn't as bad as I thought it'd be, but the movie didn't need that storyline. It would have been better if the storyline focused primarily on the pilots and the dogfights, which are the high points of the movie. Go see this movie for the dogfights, especially the zeppelin attack on Paris and the final showdown between Rawlings and the Black Falcon!

One of the complaints of the movie was that it is too cliched, and this is partly true, but for me it felt like the actors did the best they could with what they have. James Franco gets top billing as Texan Blaine Rawlings, a young rancher who joins the war after his ranch went under. Along with flying with the Escadrille, he falls in love with a French girl, Lucien (French beauty Jennifer Decker), who can't speak English. My favorite character is Reed Cassidy (Martin Henderson), the veteran pilot who slowly opens up to the new pilots. The rest of the young pilots who arrive with Rawlings include Phillip Winchester as William Jensen, the golden boy who knows he'll become a hero, Tyler Labine as Briggs Lowry, a young man from a rich family who is trying to prove himself to his father, Abdul Salis as Eugene Skinner, the lone African-American pilot in the group who must prove himself while also dealing with some racism, and David Ellison as Eddie Beagle, the struggling pilot who may or may not have a suspicious background. Jean Reno is excellent in a small part as the captain of the squadron, Capt. Thenault, but it's too bad he couldn't have been used more.

The soon to be released two-disc DVD, Jan. 30, 2007, will offer a boatload of special features which I'm definitely looking forward to watching. There will be several making of featurettes, some history about the real Lafayette Escadrille, an audio commentary with director Tony Bill and producer Dean Devlin, deleted scenes, trailers, and a Flyboys Squadron DVD-rom game. So for a movie with some excellent dogfights and aerial sequences, a pretty good ensemble cast, and a not so bad love story, look for the two-disc DVD of Flyboys in January!"
Can you spot the real actors in this movie?
DarthRad | CA United States | 04/25/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)

The real actors?

Well, there's poor James Franco, a fine young actor, who must be cursing his bad luck in getting to play the leading man only in movies plagued by rotten screenplays and supporting casts, and also in losing the leading man role (and then having to play second fiddle) to some wimp in that blockbuster series of all time, Spider-man...

And then there's Jean Reno, Hollywood's favorite token Frenchman (even though he was born in Morocco to Spanish parents, as Juan Moreno), once again playing the earnest, understanding wise man with the funny French accent........ gosh, if only all French people could be just like him! ......especially those nasty waiters and shopkeepers in Paris, and those anti-American French politicians......

This movie had so many clichéd scenes in it that I began to realize that the filmmakers must have thought that they could get away with it because the younger movie-going generation wouldn't recognize these as clichés, since most are from an older generation of movies. It must save money to just recycle the old classic scenes, instead of hiring better, more original screenwriters.

There's the obligatory sendoff at the train station with the girlfriend running alongside the train (I winced during this scene, half expecting the girl to run splat into a signpost.........ooops, wrong movie, that was from one of the "Hot Shots" series); the obligatory first fight at the bar amongst the airmen; the obligatory hero's death with kamikaze swan dive into the mission target; the obligatory hero saves girl - hero loses girl plot; the obligatory devout Christian, who might as well have also been carrying a sign saying "I'LL BE DEAD MEAT SOON" along with his Bible.

So what about the non-actors?

Chief among them has to be David Ellison, son of billionaire Larry Ellison of Oracle Software. Daddy helped finance a good chunk of the $60 million budget of this movie which meant that, despite a complete lack of any acting ability, on a scale similar to the fiasco that was Jake Lloyd (little Anakin - Stars Wars, Phantom Menace), and despite an intensely annoying screen presence equivalent to that of Jar Jar Binks from that same movie, David Ellison gets huge amounts of screen time, including a constant series of brief cutaway shots focused on him, designed to subliminally remind the viewer that he's in this movie........OOOOOFFTA........can you spell N-A-R-C-I-S-S-I-S-T ?

Another near non-actor, Jennifer Decker - the girl who plays James Franco's love interest Lucienne. OK, she's sort of cute, but who told her that the way to play a French girl who doesn't speak English is to act like a deaf-mute? How the heck did SHE get this role? We used to come to the answer to that question quite easily, but unfortunately, it is no longer politically correct to say such things in public.

Historically, a number of things are not quite right. The Nieuport 17s that the airmen are supposedly flying had rotary engines, not the radial engines depicted. NONE of the fighters of WWI had radial engines in fact, since air cooling technology had not developed fully to allow for fixed cylinder heads (in the rotary engines, the cylinder heads of the engine spun around together with the propeller, thus providing superior air cooling). In any case, the Lafayette Escadrille would quickly lose the Nieuport 17s and mostly fly SPADs (which had inline engines) for much of the war.

And those bullet holes! Come on! The planes were made of fabric and wood, and had absolutely NO ARMOR! If bullets hit all around the cockpit, the pilot is DEAD! How the heck could James Franco's plane be so riddled with bullets in that last dogfight, and he only gets hit ONCE!?

That's just my two bits on the historical inaccuracies - there are a great many in this movie which have been pointed out by other reviewers already.

However, in spite of all its flaws, this was a moderately entertaining movie. I watched it as a $2 rental, on my 23" widescreen computer monitor, so that I could surf the Internet whenever the movie got too inane. It's the only way to watch this movie, as far as I'm concerned. Whenever Jar Jar..., I mean, David Ellison,... appeared onscreen, I would Google something about him or his billionaire father - these multi-tasking distractions helped to get me through those scenes, and reminded me also that money has its privileges.

I give the movie one star for James Franco's earnest performance, one star for the CGI flying sequences, and one star for trying to tell some of the history of WWI, even if the details got mangled