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Review R2B: Return to Base a.k.a. Soar Into the Sun a.k.a. Al-too-bi: Riteon too beiseu (2012): South Korean Top Gun!

genre: action, drama, adventure

You don't have to be a huge film fan to know that Soar into the Sun heavily borrows from Top Gun. Apart from a few deviations it plays out very similarly and is therefore predictable. It also tries to pack in a little too much for it's own good. I mean I personally could have done without the romance element. But at the same time it did provide a lot of comedic relief something I can always appreciate. Although it is a huge contrast with the second part of the film where events get very serious and melodramatic. That being said I appreciated and enjoyed all of it.

For the most part this is because of the characters. We don't get to know all of them that well. But we get to see more than enough of what they are about and who they are. A few of them even have character development. Rain as Tae-hun is the hot shot who takes too many risks to show of what he is capable of and often disregards rules and authority. But he is a very lovable character since deep down he has his heart in the right place.  Sounds familiar? Clearly his character is modeled  after Maverick (Tom Cruise). Major Lee Cheol-hee played by Yoo Jun-sang plays the Iceman (Val Kilmer) role. Although in this film they explain why he is such a tight ass and stickler for the rules. And it makes him a likeable character as well. Actually all of the characters are quite charming and loveable which is essential for the second part where things take a dramatic turn. 

The other strong element is the aerial combat. It's nothing short of amazing. It easily surpasses the combat featured in Top Gun. That might not be entirely fair since Top Gun is a much older film and a lot has changed technology wise. But the CGI used in this film is blended with real footage in a way that it is real hard to make out if it is real or not. Except in one very cool scene where it's obvious that it couldn't happen for real. The ROK Air Force was heavily involved with this project and does make you wonder why director Kim Dong-won made a more serious film where the comedy and romance was dropped. I didn't mind these elements but I can understand that others might not appreciate the light-hearted nature of the film.

Overall Soar into the Sun is a very enjoyable film filled with extraordinary aerial combat and comedic antics. Definitely one I can recommend. 

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