Flyboys is a re-telling of the story of the first aviation combat squad during WW1, known as “The Lafayette Escadrille”.
Based in France, the “Flyboys” consisted of a small number of American soldiers, many whom were of wealthy families and college educations – but with little to no flying experience. Included in this group was the first and only African American combat pilot in the war.
The film’s characters are based on the characteristics of the real life squadron fighters’ counterparts, whose life expectancy at the time was between three to six weeks. The American pilots had no real need to enlist, many joining purely for the honourable reason that it was the right thing to do; some to escape past troubles in their lives.
Flyboys is an exciting action adventure film with great acting on the parts of all the cast members. James Franco shows us that he is capable of carrying on a leading role in a film, especially with the help of seasoned actor Jean Reno who plays the harsh-but-fair Capt. Georges Thenault and Martin Henderson, the revenge-driven loner and squad leader Reed Cassidy.
The story shows us of a group of men, foreign to the land and to each other and the incredible comradery that is built between each other and the respectable acts of chivalry shown between oppositions. The film contains several war-film cliché moments, however this can be forgiven as this story is noted to be based on the events to which war-film cliché’s were spawned from.
Flyboys can be cast as your typical war-film with heroic themes, however it does score points in its engaging story and superbly choreographed action scenes, with some of the best dogfight scenes to hit our screens in recent time.
James Franco earned his pilot’s license in preparation for this film.