Review By Jamie M MacDonald

Zhang Ting (Jun Hu) works for the Flight Test Bureau and is on hand to help ace pilot Lei Yu ((Yibo Wang) land after Yu`s latest escapade goes wrong. Recruiting only the bravest to test pilot China`s new Stealth fighters. Lei Yu is exactly what the Bureau needs fearless and a skilled pilot. Lei will soon learn that it is not just his skills as a pilot he will need. He and the other pilots will be pushed to their limits of human endurance both in the sky and on the ground with flight test after test. All the data is recorded and this is where they become more than just pilots as the incorporate engineering and science into testing and finding not just the best but safest engine to use. Can Lei Yu grow as a pilot, as a human, as a team member to give China the ultimate Stealth Fighters for their Air Force?

Born to fly opens explosively as we witness the skills of Lei Yu as a solo out for himself flyer, then the film soon settles down into the story of Lei Yu, we follow him on his journey from cocky out for himself pilot, to team player for his country. Yibo Wang is perfect in the role; he has a natural acting quality about him. Giving a much-understated performance, you just can`t help but get emotionally attached to his character. Jun Hu is so well cast as the hardened veteran that becomes a mentor to all; he sees the potential in Lie Yu even though no one else does. It`s a great blend of CGI dog fights supporting thorough performances from all the cast. The film is very subtle in how it develops the love interest for Lie Yu. Also the rivalry is needed between Lei Yu and Yosh Yu`s character Deng Feng for both men to develop and to see past themselves. Leading to our finale where flight test takes place plus of course the real test when the planes are used in combat. You`ll be on the edge of your seat, yes in clichéd predictable but it is exciting and very entertaining! Directed by Xiaoshi Liu plus written by him with Guan Gui. Born To Fly is a slice of pure adrenaline in the sky’s as it tells the untold story, the test pilots story. It harks back to 80s classics Top Gun, Iron Eagle in how the story is structured, even drawing on The Right Stuff I suppose, but it`s done with style here and well balanced and it hits all the right emotional notes as it unfolds. Cinematic and pure entertainment from start to finish for me.

Trinity CineAsia presents Born to Fly in selected UK & Irish cinemas NOW

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