Man, oh man! Watching this movie, you can’t help but have a hankering for the good ol’ days … when war was indeed personal. In these times, our times, of unrest with Canadian citizens far from home, returning in body bags, it may be hard to watch this kind of film. No longer is war fought at home, or with passion, with full-support and enthusiasm. These days, wars are fought with words, and tested by the media. War has evolved from a passionate affair to a glorified real-life video game.
Now, pushing aside all of the romanticism poured into (most) Hollywood movies, and ignoring it’s flippant title, Flyboys is quite the film. It introduces a less-than all star cast: James Franco (possibly the most-known) as Blaine Rawlings, a young man forced into foreclosing the 900-acre family Ranch after his father died and left him indebted to the bank; Jean Reno as Captain Thenault, an older gentleman who is tough, but fair; Philip Winchester as William Jensen, a young man encouraged by his family’s war history into thinking he was untouchable; and Tyler Labine as Briggs Lowry, a young man forced into the war by his wealthy, disapproving father. Nonetheless, the picture is beautifully painted with the help of the Lafayette Escadrille, an American squadron of volunteer fighter pilots. In fact, the mixed backgrounds of not only the characters but the actors themselves brings multiple facets to the movie.
I found that it was quite interesting to see how such young boys ended up in the middle of a war that was not yet their own. The boys pictured come from all walks of life. There are some from rich, poor and strict religious family backgrounds, others abandoned by deaths in their families. One pilot left a professional boxing career to repay France for all it had done for him. There is, however, a common link between them: they were all destined to become heroes, in every sense of the word. Some sooner than others, but all at one point or another. Valiant, heroic. Irresistible to women? Yes, women… because (bring on the clich