American ad exec travels in time to help British fighter pilot Biggles defeat a German sonic super weapon.
Flawed but somewhat enjoyable attempt to put W.E. Johns’ iconic character on the big screen. There are sparks of wit and some actually amusing humor, but, unfortunately, the flaws overwhelm what works. The framing story is extremely dull (no one cares about ad execs and TV dinners, especially not the teen audience the filmmakers appear to have been courting) and Alex Hyde-White’s character is not exactly enthralling. One would think there was plenty of material in the nearly 100 books to come up with something more interesting. The awful synth soundtrack and theme song are also absolutely inappropriate, even for 1986 (I also rather doubt London punks would listen to Mötley Crüe, but I digress).
On the other hand, Dickson makes the perfect Biggles, and Cushing, in his final screen role, adds some badly needed gravitas. The flying scenes are pretty exciting, too. A shame the film wasn’t a commercial or critical success, as there was potential here to expand and improve.
The weapon test scenes filmed at the old Beckton Gasworks are the most interesting; a few months after filming this, Stanley Kubrick would transform them into the ruins of Hue for Full Metal Jacket.
Note: Some scenes must have been deleted, as some roles do not appear to be present in the final cut.
Cushing's last film has moments but alas doesn't gel, Hyde-White is irritating, Dickson is great however.