I've little doubt there are great stories about the Lafayette Escadrille, a group of American pilots who joined the French forces during World War I prior to U.S. entry into the conflict. But whether it trades in any reality ... apparently the pilots did keep a pet lion ... little about the meat of Tony Bill's film feels authentic. (Once again, we're in the loophole of "inspired by.") It's a wafer-thin male melodrama that trots out every dusty war-film cliché ... from the noble insurrection of the dreamy top pilot (James Franco) to the doe-eyed French farm girl he mangles English with. In the teens, just flying a plane was perilous, to say nothing of the risks undertaken in aerial dogfights. Such sky battles are depicted with all the grand special effects the 21st century can muster. Yet Bill's adventure ... set amid one of the 20th century's greatest human tragedies ... feels as emotionally hollow as a particularly good video game. (AH)

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