Before the United States enters World War I, some American youths volunteer for the French military. Subsequently, they become the first U.S. fighter pilots and form a squadron known as the Lafayette Escadrille, whose exploits and heroism become the stuff of legend. This fictional version follows a laconic Texas rancher, an eager Nebraska kid, a Black boxer already in France, and a New York swell, as they arrive green for training, get their baptism by fire when German planes ambush them on their first mission, and graduate to heroics. Rawlings, the Texan, falls in love with a young woman he meets at a brothel. Written by
Contrary to a note made by another contributor, the N-prefixed number on the French fighters' tail-planes is perfectly authentic and not at all anachronistic. The N was the identification code for Nieuport, the number was its production number in the series. See more »
In one scene Cassidy is being chased by a German fighter plane. He pulls up on the stick and gains altitude and slows way down so the German plane flies past him under him. WWI fighter planes were incapable of doing such a maneuver, they simply could not go fast enough and would stall. See more »
By the start of 1916, World War I had wreaked havoc across Europe. Over nine million people would eventually die.
Although the airplane had only recently been invented, it was quickly adapted into a war machine.
The young men who flew them became the first fighter pilots and a new kind of hero was born.
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The first problem I have with this film is in it's opening titles claiming to be based on a true story. This sets you up with anticipation that the filmmakers have developed this film aiming for authenticity, recreating what it was like to be the first fighter pilots in the first modern war. For the first time films makers have the tools with CGI to truly accurately portray the visceral effects of WWI dog fighting to put the audience right back into the thick shell smoked 1916 western front.
However they fall VERY short of the mark because through their obsession with their aerial money shots, they seem to have forgotten the human story of the true horrors of combat and what it does to the human soul. In the fact it's the human story that the director makes the biggest hash of. It's Horrors of war painted by numbers, lets have the veteran seen it all, lets have the fearless guy and then just so people know war can be nasty lets have a shell shock guy. But this is done so distastefully it truly mocks people who have actually been traumatized by war.
This films claims to have the most authentic aerial combat footage ever put to film. The CGI shots are also no where near as good as the film makers think they are. In many cases they come across as in game movie footage from an Xbox360, cartoon like and unreal. The filmmakers have also made no effort to research their period, without creating any spoilers there is some truly ludicrous almost James Bond like action set pieces that take away all sense that you are watching a realistic war film. The bi-planes might as well have afterburners and laser beams and fly into space, the film wouldn't be any less believable and probably a lot more interesting.
This is nothing more than a boys own story; where the first casualty is truth or realism. It has a TV movie feel and the acting is so bad you couldn't care less who lives or dies by the end of it. This film could have offered so much but it seems the director and the produces bottled out and aimed for an arcade computer style shoot em up with shallow acting and a big helping of cartoon CGI.
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