Born to Fly Blu-ray Review


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Liu Xiaoshi
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Wang Yibo, Hu Jun, Yu Shi, Zhou Dong Yu
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Language ‏ : ‎ Mandarin Chinese (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), Mandarin Chinese (Stereo)
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Well Go Usa
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ China
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Blu-ray
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 2 hours and 8 minutes
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ March 26, 2024

        The impact of a successful blockbuster can be felt around the world, especially when they come from Hollywood. Because of this, these successes also often end up affecting films released in foreign film markets. Given the timing of the Chinese aircraft action drama, Born to Fly, it seems highly unlikely that the success of Top Gun: Maverick did not play a large role in the film’s development. Unfortunately, the filmmakers seem to have learned the wrong lessons from the Tom Cruise film, imitating similar story elements while completely dismissing the approach to filmmaking. The awe-inspiring practical effects of Top Gun are traded in for CGI that is often less than believable, making this feel more like a cash-grab imitation than a sincere effort to tell a good story.


        The film is book-ended with sequences of English-speaking foreign invaders in advanced fighter jets crossing into China’s borders, motivating officials to move forward on testing to advance the country’s own aircraft technology. With a simple high-concept plot involving brave fighter pilots putting their lives on the line to test new planes to acquire much-needed data, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the protagonist carries the trope of a young pilot with a chip on his shoulder. Lei Yu (Wang Yibo) is recruited by veteran pilot Zhang Ting (Hu Jun) to join the elite unit testing the new stealth planes at high altitudes. Add to that a bland rivalry with a fellow pilot (Yu Yosh) and an even blander romantic sub-plot with a doctor on the base named Shen Tianran (Dongyu Zhou). Nearly everything about Born to Fly is predictable, and perhaps that is the point.


Although comparisons to the new Top Gun film were inevitable, Born to Fly may actually share more in common with the original and other patriotic action films made in the USA during the 1980s. But as Phil Hoad pointed out in his review of the film for The Guardian, those films also often came with a sense of humor which made the melodrama more palatable. Born to Fly treats every scene with a level of seriousness that weighs the film down. There are still some moments of spectacle that are fairly diverting, even though the CGI lowers the stakes considerably by continuously indicating the fabrication of filmmaking.


The Blu-ray release of Born to Fly may be the ideal way to view the film, especially given how much of the film is digitally created. Unfortunately, this is the only perks in the release of the high-definition disc. There are no special features to speak of, aside from a few subtitle options.


Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10

Historical Significance:  4/10

Special Features: 0/10

No comments: