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:: IMAX - Operation Red Flag

Operation Red Flag loosely follows an American Air force pilot, Captain John Stratton, from a young boy to finally fulfilling his dream of becoming a US Air Force Pilot. The title of the film comes from the name of the world’s most intensive air force training event. In Operation Red Flag, the world’s best combat pilots converge in the US air force base in the Nevada Desert to conduct training missions, simulated dog fights and war games.

As the film is only 45 minutes long there is no room for Stratton musing about childhood and his teenage years. The only thing Stratton wants us to know that he always wanted to become an air force pilot and his hero is his grandfather, who flew combat missions in World War Two. The film centres on Stratton’s experience in this pilot boot camp as he undertakes his most difficult and dangerous flight training missions. The camera is strapped into his cockpit as we see him execute dizzying flips, dodging canyons and launching missiles on targets.

Director Stephen Low is no stranger when it comes to filming the wide blue yonder. His first IMAX film was 1985’s ‘Skyward’. As in that film he does a splendid job in capturing the graceful movement of the fighter jets as well as the psychological stress of air pilots who often have to make life or death decision in a matter of seconds.

The only blemish of this otherwise solid film is that it often uncomfortably crosses the line from being edutainment into all out propaganda for the United States Air Force. But with so much air acrobatics on display and a limited running, I am sure that most viewers won’t mind.

Operation Red Flag is showing exclusively at IMAX Melbourne