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During the opening credits, we see two young boys playing with toy airplanes.
In the next scene, Grant Irvine, one of those boys, is in an airplane race. It is dangerous to refuel in the situation he is in, but he thinks it is more important to win than to be careful.
Several people die as a result of the explosion, including some spectators.
There is an investigation in which TV executive Chris Bannon doesn't tell the truth, and airplane racing is ended for the next four years.
Four years later, there is racing again. And Bannon cares more about ratings than safety. After all, the rebroadcasts of that incident four years earlier got some of the best ratings the NTC network has ever seen.
Grant can't race (or can he? We'll find out), but his brother Kevin (apparently the other boy from the opening credits) can. Grant can be the crew chief. Kevin flew in combat against Albanians, but despite his medals, his brother (who was in Desert Storm) doesn't see that war as worthy of respect. Both brothers appear interested in Trina, the pretty refueling pilot. Diedrich is a tough, competitive German pilot who reminds me of Drago in "Rocky IV".
It's an exciting event watched by millions, and covered by DNN, PGD and MATV as well as NTC. And in this world, ratings information is available immediately. Furthermore, there is plenty of action to generate ratings. Bannon, of course, wants the pilots to be as reckless as possible so that maybe there will be a crash or something.
It's funny to watch the poor people of Vladivostok (or whatever city that really is) reacting to the reckless pilots. I didn't know they had such pretty blonde women there. Hey, who cares, people in the movie say--it's Vladivostok.
There is an amazing moral dilemma which is resolved in a way one might not expect. Perhaps some people here care about others more than winning.
This isn't really my kind of movie, but I couldn't help but find the racing scenes exciting. Before the second race, a lot of scenes explained what was happening or getting ready to happen, but these wouldn't necessarily interest those who came here for action.
I'm no expert, but it certainly looked like people knew what they were doing as they tried to make the action realistic. Those who know planes might have a different opinion. Two major weaknesses: the sound effects people relied heavily on Hanna Barbera (a good thing for someone like me who grew up on those cartoons), and the planes went all the way across Africa and Asia in no time flat, as if they used "Star Trek" worm holes or something. And I doubt medical information was accurate. There's no way someone could recover like that without a hospital and real doctors.
No one watches a movie like this for the acting. I thought Adam Baldwin was particularly weak in some scenes. His character sounded knowledgeable as he did part of the race announcing for NTC, but he was no Jim McKay. He was, of course, an executive, so this may have been all right. But his best moments seemed to be limited to those exciting scenes where something dangerous was likely to generate ratings. He had a great poker face at one point where I thought he was delivering bad news--he wasn't.
It's a B movie. Something exciting to watch if that's your style and you're not picky.
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