Review: WWI flier drama ‘Game of Aces’ looks good, lacks romance
In many ways, writer-director Damien Lay’s World War I caper “Game of Aces” is a pretty cool achievement for a film that reportedly cost just $500,000. It’s handsomely shot, feels authentic in time and place and has a credibly old-fashioned vibe that evokes a classic Hollywood tale of war and deceit.
The picture also sports solid star turns by Chris Klein as Capt. Jackson Cove, a cocky, hard-drinking American pilot flying for the British Allied forces, and Victoria Summer as Eleanor Morgan, a sharp-shooting English nurse and translator.
They’re brought together to help rescue Capt. Josef Von Zimmerman (Werner Daehn), an “ace” flier (like Cove) and German double-agent, who was injured and left with amnesia when his plane crashed in the Arabian desert.
This sparsely populated film’s smart, enjoyable first half provides some nifty banter, fun character bits and a few jokey surprises. But the story turns a bit flat and convoluted as secrets are revealed, allegiances shift and bullets fly.
Unfortunately, a seemingly inevitable romance between the attractive leads never materializes; Bogey and Bacall, they’re not.
Still, Lay’s subbing of the Dumont Dunes near Death Valley National Park for a vast and dazzling Middle Eastern desert is something to behold, and Klein proves himself a nimble alternate for action-oriented filmmakers who can’t afford Bradley Cooper.
‘Game of Aces’
In English and German with English subtitles
Rating: R, for some violence and language
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes
Playing: Century Stadium 25 and XD, Orange; Cinemark 22, Lancaster
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