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Flyboys

Year: 2007
Production Co: Flyboys Films Ltd
Studio: MGM
Director: Tony Bill
Producer: Dean Devlin
Cast: James Franco, Jean Reno, Martin Henderson
Studio MGM had high hopes for Flyboys. After giving $60m – not much for an action film – to former Hollywood darling producer Dean Devlin (Independence Day), they hoped for one of the cleanups of early 2007.

What went wrong for the film to rake back barely a third of its budget? It had the same thrilling action sequences as Devlin's past glories, the same hackneyed characters and dull dramatic arc complete with native love interest, boys-own-adventure heroics and antics and every other adventure cliché.

In fact, that's what went wrong. We loved it in 1995 when the US air force went to battle aliens with their city-sized spacecraft, but over 10 years later we've seen enough neck-breaking CGI battles to be unimpressed, and with such a paper thin grounding to rest the thrills on, the whole thing falls in a heap.

James Spider-Man Franco leads a group of squeaky clean Americans who travel to France at the bloodiest height of World War I to become pilots in the Lafayette Escadrille, France's burgeoning air battle wing.

Love triangles, friendships lost and found and standard issue military chestnuts like the stern drill commander with a heart of gold fill the dull gaps between battle sequences, and after the first few even they get tired.

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