Normally I'm quite fond of movies featuring underdog stories, so to speak. The type of movie and story in which a persons or persons against all odds achieve great things. And to be honest I also really expected to like this movie, since it has a good reputation, features lots of great actors and had the type of story I expected to love. But it instead turned out to be a very shallow and melodramatic piece.

The story of the movie sounds so great on paper and also seems like one that needs to be told and heard, about a group of Afro American fighter pilots who served and fought during WW II, despite of all the prejudices and racism they had to face. But I'm sorry, I just never felt like they were having a hard time getting their training, getting accepted and simply get to do everything a Caucasian fighter pilot was also allowed to do. Nobody is really holding them back or trying to work against them from achieving anything and to just simply do their part and as far as the racism in this movie goes; it comes across as simply stupid and something that got forced in. It's very unrealistic honestly. I'm not saying that this never happened and it most likely did but the way it got presented in this movie made it seem very unlikely though. It made the story and just overall important message of the movie very shallow. So I just can't say that the film-makers are doing much justice to the true story and heroes.

And there is also really far too little happening in this movie and everything was extremely predictable, to be honest. First half hour of the movie is being very blah blah but once the action kicks in it becomes painfully apparent why they didn't featured any from the start on. The action is absolutely horrible! First of all the editing is extremely weak and the air fights don't even get resolved properly but what is actually laughable is that for all of the true dock fighting and stuff blowing up they used actual war footage from WW II. So just imaging, a modern 1995 movie, featuring grainy WW II footage from the '40's, right in the middle of the action sequences. At first I was honestly thinking it was some kind of editing trick and the air men were still in the middle of their training, pretending to be attacking ground targets, with WW II footage put in as sort of training for the viewers to see what they are pretending to hit. But the movie is not doing it once, not twice but ALL THE TIME during all of the battle sequences.

The movie also just never gave me the feeling that it was supposed to be a war movie. The movie looked like it was set at the same place, all the time and there is never any sense of danger of an ongoing war, even though people of course get killed in this. This seems to happen very randomly though and without ever an epic battle or heroic action. Stupidity is most often what kills the characters in this movie and this really doesn't seem very respectful to any of those who truly flew and fought in WW II.

Yes, this all is of course really due to the fact that this movie didn't had a big budget behind it but can this really serve as an excuse? I mean, when something is bad and it doesn't work out it is simply bad. This movie simply shouldn't ever had been made with such a small budget behind it.

Not even all of the fine actors that are in this can spice up things. I mean it has Oscar nominees Laurence Fishburne and John Lithgow and Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. in it, among many other great actors. Their characters all remain extremely shallow, as does the rest of the story. It's really not a powerful or emotional movie to watch but more one that forces stuff upon you with its melodramatic elements and very stereotypical characters. Such a waste of all the talent involved with this.

But honestly, it's not an horrible movie to watch. I'm making it sound much worse than it is to watch actually but I just can't think of any reason though why anyone should ever watch this in the first place, even though it features an important historical story. You are better off reading a book about it I guess, also since this movie actually takes lots of liberties with the truth as well.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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