Air Force ★★★½

A weird movie for a lot of reasons—essentially Hawks doing his part of the war effort to blast the damn “Japs” back to hell. But it’s also one of the most interesting Hawksian dynamics, as it’s one where each member of the crew has to fill a role, and the machine they occupy—a gigantic WWII bomber—becomes a metaphorical part of the team. Some truly inspired moments: the first landing at Pearl Harbor with the fires burning from below, the dog fight in the sky (“Ah so that’s where Lucas got it for Star Wars!”), a captain’s parting words, and the team-building reconstruction of the plane, a sort of Resurrection moment (perhaps the only religious moment in a Hawks movie?). The final 30 minutes are what they are, and seeing nameless Japanese actors shout random words into the sky and then perish into the water with gusto is something unavoidable. A rare time where a film’s time capsule isn’t doing the film any good, but to dismiss the rest of the film would be to deny some of Hawks’s best moments.

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