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Red Sky (Review)

Watchable Top Gun effort.

by Ed Blackadder

Red Sky is a thriller by actor-director Mario Van Peebles, and is similar in style to Top Gun, but without the talent and passion of Tony Scott's effort. Top Gun was made for $15 million almost 30 years ago, whereas Red Sky was $25 million, which is admittedly not comparable with todays costs, but is still a reasonable budget for an action film of this nature.

Van Peebles relied on surprisingly few stock shots when the flying action was on and managed that part of the film reasonably well, however, the editing near the end, when the fighting was going strong, left a lot to be desired. Some of it was simply too quick, making it almost impossible to follow what was going on, and Adam Prince's screenplay was already a struggle to follow without further hindrances from anywhere else.

Four flying aces are on a routine mission over hostile territory when someone with an unknown call-sign comes through on their radio and issues an order to fire a missile at a supposed enemy target. The pilots check for authorization which clears, and go ahead with the attack. It turns out they've opened fire on a target with friendlies inside and end up killing an American soldier, but somehow the information that would back this up goes missing, resulting in the pilots being dishonorably discharged.

Red Sky
Directed by Mario Van Peebles
Cast Cam Gigandet, Rachael Leigh Cook, Shane West, Mario Van Peebles
Release Date 12 March 2014
Ed's Grade: C

7-years later the pilots are in various jobs working on aircraft, when one of their number goes missing. His ex-fiance is now a reporter and starts to ask around if anyone has seen him, but she doesn't like what she finds out about her ex. The building that was blown up by the pilots was thought to contain a WMD called Rainmaker, built by Saddam Hussein's army and can render oil useless, which the US government can't allow to happen. In order to destroy the missile on foreign soil quietly without causing an international incident, the remaining three pilots are offered a way to clear their names, if they agree to fly the mission. They agree but things go wrong and they end up with an even bigger fight on their hands.

Red Sky starts out a bit shaky as the story doesn't feel exciting or as though anything worthwhile is about to happen but it does eventually pick up. Most films start nice and slow and allow you to settle in to the story but Red Sky just felt flat for the first act. Once it did pick up it really kept on going, and going, and forgot to stop as the plot twists were piled on until it got rather messy and convoluted. I'm not sure why so much was tossed in but maybe they wanted to give plenty bang for your buck.

Cam Gigandet played Butch "Cobra" Masters, and was the good guy with a crush on his friend Tom "Rodeo" Craig's fiance, Karen (Rachael Leigh Cook). Gigandet performed pretty much the same way he performs most of the characters I've seen him play, which is to say quite well, but never pushing himself in any way. Shane West as bad boy, Tom, managed a bit better, however, he admittedly had more to play with. I didn't think it was at all realistic they way Shane West's character Tom changes at the end, but I don't want to spoil anything by elaborating too much. The way the important and presumably secret information of the flight that blew up the building containing the friendlies got lost, was hard to believe.

In fact, there was a helluva lot that was hard to swallow, but that's the way with these types of film a lot of the time. On the whole, the acting was decent in Red Sky with my only gripes being the overblown story and the choppy action scenes. As long as you're not expecting too much from this action movie it's a good enough way to spend an hour and forty-minutes.

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