Story of two brothers who untangle their mixed emotions as they compete in a grueling bicycle race, American Flyers is most entertaining when it rolls along unencumbered by big statements. Unfortunately, overblown production just pumps hot air in too many directions and comes up limp.
Basic conflict between under-achiever David (David Grant) and older brother Marcus (Kevin Costner), a fierce competitor and no-nonsense sports doctor, is crammed into a hotbed of family problems including a career-woman mother (Janice Rule) who emotionally abandoned her dying husband.
If this isn’t enough, one of the boys is destined for the same fate as the father. So, with the shadow of death hanging over them, the brothers set off for Colorado for ‘the toughest bicycle race in America.’
Combativeness between brothers yields to comaraderie, but true nature of their conflict is difficult to get a handle on.
Performances are adequate considering that over-production makes the characters seem larger than life without being lifelike.