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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.

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

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

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