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Flyboys “So it was that war in the
  air began. Men rode upon
  the whirlwind and slew
  and fell like archangels.
  The sky rained heroes
  upon the astonished
H G Wells

BEAUTIFULLY FILMED, with elegant aeroplanes dancing in the air like a host of butterflies, this film is essentially a First World War film with a series of mini stories running through it including a budding romance.

From the producers of Independence Day and The Patriot, this riveting and delightful film is a must-see, not only for its thrilling aerial combat sequences and amazing special effects but also for the brilliant acting and well-planned plot.

A motley group of ill-matched young Americans volunteer for the French military to become the country's first fighter pilots and end up at Lafayette Escadrille Airdrome in Verdun, France, before the United States officially joins the First World War.

Among them are Blaine Rawlings (James Franco, Spiderman 2, James Dean), who has had his ranch repossessed; Skinner (Abdul Salis), a black boxer who has been treated well in France and wants to fight for the country that welcomed him; and Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine) whose wealthy father insists he goes to war to uphold the family name and who has black servants. The wonderfully straightforward Jean Reno (The Davinci Code, Ronin, Leon) plays Captain Therault and Jennifer Decker the love interest Lucienne, whose brother and sister-in-law have been killed.

After a run-in with the squadron's mascot, each other and a veteran fighter who believes the recruits have to prove themselves before they are accepted the "Knights of the Air" address their prejudices and rub along fairly well together. Their first aerial fight is particularly well crafted from the moment they take to the skies, and there are human touches and a sense of honour that bring the film to life as they encounter the enemy. (Even at this point, nobody says "Get the Fokkers!")

The love story between Rawlings and Lucienne is very subtle and sweet, evoking as everything in this film does a perfect sense of period. There is a lot of good interaction between the characters but Flyboys also reflects the senselessness of war with young pilots being killed and their friends having to come to terms with the loss.

Although the airplane had only recently been invented, it was quickly adapted into a war machine. Flyboys captures the excitement and passion of early flight and a heart-warming feeling of freedom and peace accompanies the soaring planes. The film is inspired by 'the true story' and it is accompanied by a noteworthy score.

As the Germans press-on through France, the tension mounts and lives are lost or changed forever. The film also stars Martin Henderson as Reed Cassidy, David Ellison as Eddie Beagle and Tim Piggott-Smith as Lowry's father.

Directed by Tony Bill and with superb visual effects supervised by Mark Franco, Flyboys skirts around the usual explicitly-gory scenes from the horrors of war and is a mainly gentle but honest reflection of the brave airmen from the 'war to end all wars'.

The DVD release of Flyboys from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is on sale now.

Special features: Commentary by Director Tony Bill and Producer Dean Devlin | Deleted Scenes | Featurette: The Flyboys Ride with Air Force Thunderbirds and The Navy Blue Angels | Featurette: Taking Flight The Making of Aerial Battle Sequences. Flyboys definitely one to keep and watch again and again!