According to the Internet Movie Database website the following is an excerpt from Douglas Young’s review. It highlights the movie quite well:
“World War I began in Europe in 1914, but by 1917, the United States had still not entered the war. However, many brave young American men went to France to fly and fight for the Allied powers. They joined the Lafayette Escadrille fighter squadron. The Germans had better planes, weapons, and pilots. The average life expectancy for a fighter-pilot was three to six weeks. Why did these Americans volunteer to fight in France with certain death when their own country was not at war? This was a time when men were idealistic, but naive to embark on a great adventure. Blaine Rawlings (James Franco) was forced to leave his home in Texas after the family ranch was foreclosed by the bank. Blaine sees a newsreel of fighter-pilots in France and decides that he has nothing to lose. Briggs Lowry (Tyler Labine) can't do anything right and is shamed into joining by his rich father. African-American boxer Eugene Skinner (Abdul Salis) had been living in France, a racially tolerant country, for many years, wanted to give something back to his new country. These Americans were under the command of French Captain Georges Thenault (Jean Reno) and American Squadron Leader Reed Cassidy (Martin Henderson)."
I think that the movie captures the spirit and adventure, bravery and courage of the American fighting man through the ages. Guys join the service for various reasons. Some grow from the experience and some are ruined by it. I think the character of a man is tested and he comes out for the better or for the worse. The camaraderie shown between the men and even between them and their French commander is inspiring.
The movie had great action, especially the aerial dogfights between the young American pilot recruits and the better trained and better equipped German pilots. The movie had a little romance. One of the brash cocky young American pilots, Blaine who was played by actor James Franco, begins to fall for a French mademoiselle, the love story is interwoven through the movie between the spectacular air battles involving vintage WWI airplanes. Franco performance was believable and compelling. The movie also had sufficient suspense, drama, and some fine cinematography.
What impressed me was how basic the early flying machines were. Open cockpit, no lights, few instruments, the men flew on instinct and guts.
The movie is based on a true story. Those are the movies I most enjoy.
I would rate the movie a **** out of *****. It is a war flick, action movie, a touch of romance and a hint of documentary. The movie is free of a lot of filthy language and unnecessary promiscuity. It does have some scenes of heavy drinking. But overall it is suitable for all but younger children.
if you like historical, war, action movies, then you would enjoy this movie. I would highly recommend this movie for rental or purchase.