'Air Racers 3D'

The annual Reno National Championship Air Races, featuring racing planes of vintage stock refurbished for contempo speed, provide the basis for the spare and less-than-thrilling "Air Racers 3D," which surprisingly under-exploits the subject's rich Imax 3D possibilities.

The annual Reno National Championship Air Races, featuring racing planes of vintage stock refurbished for contempo speed, provide the basis for the spare and less-than-thrilling “Air Racers 3D,” which surprisingly under-exploits the subject’s rich Imax 3D possibilities. Narrated by Paul Walker in the style of surf docs of yore, pic provides a fun time for flying and air-warfare enthusiasts, but fails to effectively place the viewer in the cockpit for dazzling pilot p.o.v. shots. Item will serve as useful program filler on busy spring-summer Imax calendars.

A too-brief opening sequence (with co-helmer Christian Fry acting as one of the pilots) stages a WWII dogfight, serving up the film’s best 3D shots and placing the Reno airshow in its historical context. Many of the racing planes in Reno — reaching speeds of 500 mph, and at dangerously low elevation — are refashioned from vintage wartime craft, such as the P-51 Mustang piloted by the 2009 race’s winner, Steve Hinton Jr. Camera placements and telephoto shots rob the pic of giantscreen 3D impact; Douglas Sirk’s staging of a similar race in “The Tarnished Angels” was more viscerally exciting than anything here.

Air Racers 3D

France-U.K.-U.S.

Production

A 3D Entertainment Distribution release of a 3D Entertainment USA/Pretend Entertainment production in association with Stereoscope. Produced by Raul Leckie, Christian Fry. Executive producers, Francois Mantello, John Constantine, Jeffery Pierce. Directed by Christian Fry, Jean-Jacques Mantello. Written by Fry, Rick Dowlearn.

Crew

Camera (Fotokem color/B&W, Imax, 70mm), Francis Kenny, Vern Nobles Jr.; editors, Christine Steele, Jean-Jacques Mantello, Roger Cohen; music, Christophe Jacquelin. Reviewed at Rave Motion Pictures Imax Theater, Los Angeles, April 3, 2012. Running time: 40 MIN.

With

Steve Hinton Jr., Steve Hinton Sr., Christian Fry, Richard Gabai. Narrator: Paul Walker.

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