There's no questioning either the courage of the pilots depicted in this series or the computer-generated images that illustrate the dogfights. This episode deals with Allied airplanes of a particularly high speed: first a Mosquito attack on an airfield, flown by an American pilot; then the interception of a flight of Japanese kamikaze by the F4U Corsair; then the first and only gun kill at supersonic speed by an American Phantom over a Mig 15.
But though it's virtues should be applauded, there are some consistent nettlesome weaknesses.
I don't know whose idea it was to have an airplane fly at high speed directly into the "camera" but it was a bad idea.
Second, the narration gives due credit to any especially skilled enemy pilots but it also turns corny: "He was running out of fuel but he wanted a crack at those MIGs." (Verbatim.) Third, the narrator literally shouts out his description of the action like an announcer at a sports event, which, I take it, combat is not.
Last, we always win, even when "we" are flying a British airplane. As an anthropologist I can't help feeling this is a little dangerous as a depiction of war. The fact is that "we" don't always win. We never lose in this series, but sometimes we DO lose. And it's not really like a football game. It's more like a periodic plague that seeems to break out among clusters of Homo sapiens, and it's a very poor way for a species to flourish, although it may serve as an instrument of extinction.
No faulting the individuals involved -- on either side. It takes raw bravery to fly in combat. The disease is cultural.
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