Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Review: R2B: Return to Base (aka Black Eagle) (2012)

R2B: Return to Base (or Black Eagle) (Review)
Kim Dong-won/Rain/2012
Where to Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...with the beautifully choreographed air battles really sweeping me away."

Captain Jung Tae-yoon (Rain), a member of the elite Black Eagle air force unit, is transferred to F-15K, a flying combat unit, after performing a dangerous and cocky move at an air show.

R2B: Return to Base continues with Tae-yoon bumping heads with Cheol-hee (Yoo Jun-sang), F-15K's top gun. Tae-yoon also falls for Sergeant Yoo Se-young (Shin Se-kyung), the unit's mechanic. And so, they banter and compete amongst themselves until a threat expectedly rises from the North. Which, in turn, causes Se-young and Cheol-hee to face their demons and partner up. The final act of the film is pure action, with the thrilling air battles taking center-stage. The ending of the film is predictable, but fans of happily-ever-after endings will feel right at home; my opinion, it was too easy of an ending.

The story is full of clichés and is presented in a generic manner. Every character, every action, every scene, in fact, has been done before. On top of that, the film is stylized in an American manner, filled with odd editing choices and music that are better suited for music videos rather than a film. R2B: Return to Base offers nothing new to the genre. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn't entertained. The first half of the film is filled with genuine, light-hearted humor -- I laughed more than I usually laugh during full comedy films. The characters are charismatic and likable, despite being clones of other films. And, the action is thrilling, with the beautifully choreographed air battles really sweeping me away. On top of that, the comedy and action blend well to create a consistent film with a great pace. Cliche: Yes. Entertaining: Hell Yes!

I liked Rain as the lead, he plays the cocky character well with a strong screen presence and charisma. Shin Se-kyung also delivers a great, versatile performance. The special effects are great, really capturing the blockbuster action vibe; the action sequences soar and bring maximum thrills. The music is well-fitted for the theme and setting of the film. The writing is cliché, but the heart is in the right place; it works well in creating a universally enjoyable experience without sacrificing entertainment.

Overall, R2B: Return to Base, also known as Black Eagle, is a good action film with great action sequences and a nice blend of lighthearted humor. The editing is overdone and there are some odd visual choices in what feels like an attempt to mimic Hollywood, but it is generally entertaining and enjoyable. Good for a night in, especially for fans of the cast.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood.

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