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Flying Tigers

"Flying Tigers" on DVD

Airy Adventure

John Wayne gives a stirring performance in this Hollywood-ized account of the American Volunteer Group before and during World War II.

More famously known as The Flying Tigers, they were a group of gung ho Yanks bent on protecting the Chinese from the Japanese on the eve, and after, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that dragged the US into the war.

Jim Gordon (Wayne) was the leader of this group of highly skilled pilots, but life there becomes as much of a soap opera as anything as they get embroiled in a "lover's triangle" that takes up screen time that would have been better used with flying scenes.

Gordon's chief nemesis is Woody Jason (John Carroll), who tends to go off half cocked in his desire to fight a one-man war and who also has his eyes on Gordon's girlfriend (Anna Lee).

The aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor is given excess screen time, as the cast listens to more of FDR's "a day in infamy" speech than is necessary (though, since the movie was made only months after that speech was actually made, it could almost have been newsreel information for much of the audience).

Still, the characters are likeable, as are the actors' performances and, despite the script being long on character and short on flying sequences (and long on cheesy special effects, too, unfortunately), "Flying Tigers" succeeds on the whole.

The DVD is presented in its original full screen aspect ratio, so owners of widescreen TV's will either have to stretch it to fill the screen (which adds distortion, but which is quite satisfactory on this film) or live with bars beside the 4x3 picture. The overall picture quality is excellent; the Dolby Digital mono audio is fine considering the film's age and the state of the audio art back then.

Extras include cast and crew info.

Flying Tigers, from Artisan Home Entertainment
101 min., full screen (1.33:1), not 16x9 TV compatible, Dolby Digital mono
Starring John Wayne, John Carroll, Anna Lee
Produced by Jack Marta,
Written by Kenneth Gamet and Barry Trivers, Directed by David Miller.


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Updated May 13, 2006