FLYING LEATHERNECKS (Blu-ray Review)
Review by Mr. Paws😽
I should probably state upfront that I’ve never been a massive John Wayne fan. That isn't to say he hasn’t been in some undisputedly great films; I just don’t think they were necessarily great because of him. In a way, Wayne’s career was similar to Ozzy Osbourne’s: Not a lot of inherent talent per se, but a supreme knack for surrounding himself with people hired to make him look good.
If a masterpiece like The Searchers is to Wayne’s career what Diary of a Madman is to Ozzy’s, then the loosely-plotted Flying Leathernecks might be considered one of many movies comparable to Ozzmosis: Slick, enjoyable entertainment where the star’s indubitable persona is enhanced by a plethora of talented players, but not particularly memorable compared to his all-time classics.
Flying Leathernecks features The Duke as Major Dan Kirby, who flew during the Battle of Midway. He’s now commanding a squadron of young pilots who previously assumed their beloved captain, “Griff” Griffin (Robert Ryan), would be promoted to the job. In-between airborne skirmishes with the Japanese, most of the ground conflict stems from Kirby's hard-nosed approach versus Griff’s concern over the men’s physical and mental health.
|Mr. Wayne can't decide which belt best-accessorizes the look he's going for.|
Ultimately, Flying Leathernecks features The Duke at his dukiest. His character doesn’t change a whit throughout the entire movie, which is probably all that most of his fans need to hear. As such, it’s undemanding and enjoyable, but certainly no Diary of a Madman.