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Flight Of The Intruder

review by Zach B.

 

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 114 minutes

Starring: Danny Glover, Willem Dafore, Brad Johnson, Rosanna Arquette, Tom Sizemore

Screenplay by: Robert Dillon and David Shaber
Based on the novel by: Stephen Coonts

Directed by: John Milius

 

Studio: Paramount

Retail Price: $14.99

Features: None

Specs: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Stereo Surround, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (15 Scenes)

Released: July 1st, 2003

 

 

After his co-pilot is shot at during a routine bombing mission, Jake Grafton (Brad Johnson) begins to doubt what he is being used for by the Navy in the Vietnam war. Jake soon meets up (and teams up with) the crazed Virgil Cole (Willem Dafoe), who also happens to share similar views as Jake as far as what they're being used for and the deadly aftermath of certain flight missions. Together, they plot to fly behind enemy lines and destroy a missile depot in Hanoi with a A-6 Intruder plane to make their own statement and show their own vengeance. However, the mission has its risks... such as being court-martialed and paying the price with the likes of Commander Frank Camparelli (Danny Glover).

This film may seem like your typical gung-ho war kind of movie with a message made specifically for the screen, but it was actually based on a book by Stephen Coonts (I never read the book but I hear it was pretty good). Personally, I thought the movie was just okay. The premise is interesting enough, but I thought the movie ultimately got bogged down in its characters and issues. The film's dialogue is pretty good, but the story itself just seemed to meander a lot. It got a pretty tiring and boring at times. A lot of the stuff in the movie seems to be filler, and doesn't really advance anything. The movie is filled with your usual stereotypes and clichés (especially with the characters), and is pretty predictable as far as the overall outcome. After watching the movie, I really wonder what the book is like. Was the film Hollywood-ized, or is the book pretty similar?

It seems to me that the movie is trying to make some kind of statement, but it really doesn't - well, at least not anything we haven't heard thousands of times before about people risking their lives, taking chances, loss and overall heroics. Director John Milius (whatever happened to him!?) makes a film that is somewhat anti-Vietnam... yet at the same time credits aspects of those involved in the war. The points are valid, but the dual stances made me feel mixed. It doesn't help how plodding the film gets because of him. But on the plus side for Milius, he stages some pretty nifty battle flight scenes that are entertaining. And I thought the score from Basil Poledouris was excellent and fit the film quite well.

Thankfully, the movie has an excellent cast who slightly transcend the material. Danny Glover is incredibly strong and pretty brutal as well as tense as Commander Camparelli. Glover plays well against everyone in this movie, and his presence breathes some extra life into the usual biting commander character. The role of Virgil Cole is right up Willem Dafoe's alley as far as how boisterious the character can be, and he certainly plays it well (Dafoe is always great and is one of my favorite actors). Brad Johnson (whatever happened to him?) makes a fine lead and centerpoint for the story, and while he's good, he doesn't bring anything extra to Jake. Tom Sizemore is decent in a supporting role, and so is Jake's love interested played by Rosanna Arquette. The two share some decent on-screen chemistry, not to mention their characters are linked in a certain way. And finally, keep your eye on Ving Rhames, John Corbett and a certain "Friend"...

I don't think "Flight Of The Intruder" has much of an audience, but I'm sure some of you out there love this movie and I'm sure some of you will enjoy its concepts and what it offers, despite a feeling of "been there, done that." With that said, you can now relive it on DVD, check it out on DVD or do neither...

 

The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer for "Flight Of The Intruder" isn't spectacular, and you might think the movie was made in the 1970s by watching it. My main gripes with the transfer is how dirty and grainy it looks. Grain is quite apparent throughout, while there are quite a few dirt pieces, nicks, blemishes and scratches on the print. It all gets distracting fast. There's also a tiny bit of edge enhancment to be found as well as some noise and edge halos. The picture does also seem to struggle during the night time exteriors as those scenes look pretty faded and show their age. On the other hand, flesh tones look great and colors are usually well saturated. Detail is pretty good too. This transfer isn't going to win any accolades, but that's the way the cookie crumbles...

 

The English 5.1 Dolby Digital remix is good, but not great. The film is heavy on the action, and while there are a good deal of surrounds here, they probably aren't as intense or aggressive as you'd like them to be. This is probably because the sound elements used to make the mix are a bit old and can only be spruced up to a certain extent. I'm sure of this movie was made in the age of DVD (i.e. now), it'd be a lot stronger and more intense. But that's not the case, and the surrounds here (such as gunfire, planes swooping, bombings) sound a bit cheesy and not as natural. They bring some activity, but the dynamics aren't so great. With that said, fidelity is a bit low but everything else sounds pretty decent. Dialogue is clear and easy to hear but never distorted. The music, mainly Basil Poledouris' tip-top score, fills the channels and gives the film a nice ambiance. Subwoofer use isn't anything special though. A slightly above decent mix. Also included is a French stereo surround track, English Dolby Surround track, English subtitles and English closed captions.

 

Nothing at all.

 

You're either going to like "Flight Of The Intruder" or hate it - it's definitely more of a "guy" film and probably won't hold the interest for everybody. With that in mind, the film does have its small share of fans. The DVD has no supplements, while the sound and picture are pretty much average. Still, a $14.99 list price means you can get this movie for around 10 dollars. So if you're in the mood for some early 1990s action topped with a mediocre story...