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Red Flag is the international training exercise for air forces of allied countries where many of the world's best pilots meet for the most challenging flying of their careers. Red Flag is the final training for pilots and their aircrews before being sent into actual combat. Follow pilot, John Stratton, as he makes his way through this extraordinary event held in the desert of Nevada. Written by
I was so looking forward to seeing this film, especially as it was made for the wonderful IMAX format, yet it turned out to be such a let down. If you know nothing about the subject yet want to feel that you are flying with the aircraft then by all means go an see this film. If you know something about the subject matter then you will pick holes all over the place in this film. Whilst not being a pilot I know enough about this to comment.
The film follows the story of a pilot from the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home AFB who goes to the Red Flag exercise at Nellis AFB for the first time. It took me three-quarters of the film to fully establish what aircraft type he flies because of the poor continuity this film suffers from. To start with, it implies he flies an F-15C Eagle but for much of the film we see sequences involving the F-15E Strike Eagle. It was only when I realised which squadron his neck scarf and shoulder patch represented that I knew for sure what he flew in. In the mix are sequences involving F-15Cs from the U.S. Airforce wing based in Japan (look for the "ZZ"s), all seen on the ground when our pilot was being discussed. The film must have been made during two or more Red Flag exercises, as we see Royal Navy Sea Harriers in one shot, and RAF Harriers in another (no, they were not there at the same time!). We have another sequence where the commentator talks about aircraft from other visiting nations, yet fails to mention the Israelis, whose F-16s we are viewing at the time. My view is that if they are too politically sensitive to talk about then don't even show us the images either! We then move to the flying sequences. This has quite clearly been filmed over Idaho: firstly, Nevada is not that green; and secondly it involves F-15s and F-16s from Mountain Home in Idaho, and A-10s from the Idaho Air National Guard (neither the A-10s or F-16s were seen at Nellis earlier). The flying sequences involve both snippets of poor CGI'd aircraft and internal views of a controlling E-3 AWACs, which is quite obviously inside a studio. The ground attack sequences should use the term "Fire for effect" as that is what they clearly are, poor fireworks!!! The one true sequence we see of modern munitions hitting their targets looks very different. I know much of this may seem like nit-picking but the film started out with so much promise, and then it goes on to suffer from "dumbing-down", which is a great shame as several bits are very good, especially one where a camera is slung underneath an F-15 and we get treated to some great low-level flying; and the shot of four F-15Es in close formation at a fairly low-level. I may not be able to review this film as eloquently as others do but that is down to my sheer frustration at a chance wasted here. I feel like the audience is being treated as a fool because of the appalling continuity and dumbing down for effect of this film. Top Gun may have had its faults but it is a far better film than this.
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