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DVD “ Les Chevaliers du Ciel (Starfighters)

Les Chevaliers du ciel (international title Skyfighters, literal translation The Knights of the sky) is a 2005 French film directed by Gérard Pirès about two air force pilots preventing a terrorist attack on the Bastille Day celebrations in Paris.
Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Plot

The film starts out at the Farnborough Air Show where a demo Mirage 2000 is stolen. Captains Antoine Walk'n Marchelli (Benoît Magimel) and Sébastien Fahrenheit Vallois (Clovis Cornillac) are instructed to escort it back. They find the rogue Mirage flying stealthy under a Qatar Airways Airbus A340. They get the order to abort when the rogue Mirage is about to fire on Fahrenheit. Walk'n is forced to shoot the demo Mirage down when it is about to fire a Super 530 missile at his wingman, disobeying an order which results in both of them being kicked out of the air force.

They get promised to be reinstated if they fly a Cannonball race over hostile territory to the Horn of Africa for Special Missions to help sell the Mirage to an Asian customer. Its competition consists of F-16's.

During the race, their tanker does not show up for in-flight refueling because terrorists have killed the pilot. This forces the Mirages to land in hostile territory where their aircraft are taken. Walk'n and Fahrenheit manage to escape with one of the planes and destroy another, one plane however remains in the hands of the terrorists.

The terrorists plan to shoot down a tanker over Paris during the Bastille Day celebrations but 'Walk'n and Fahrenheit intercept the rogue Mirage and shoot it down over an unpopulated area.

Filming

Les Chevaliers du ciel was filmed in co-operation with the French Air Force. Initially the standard safety rules applied, but eventually the minimum allowed altitude was reduced to 3 m (10 ft) and the minimum distance between aircraft was reduced to 1 m (3 ft). The filming of these flight sequences seen in the movie were mainly done from the air, as opposed to Top Gun where most of the filming was done from the ground.

To achieve this, one of the Mirage's external fuel tanks was modified to fit a camera. A HD camera was considered for this purpose, but it did not fit in the fuel pod. Tracking shots were done from a hired Lear Jet.

Additionally, jet aircraft are not allowed to fly over Paris. As a result of this, all the Paris filming had to be done on the actual Bastille Day (14 July) for which the filming crew got special permission.

Réalisé par Gérard Pirès
Avec Benoît Magimel, Clovis Cornillac, Alice Taglioni
Film français.
Genre : Action
Durée : 1h 42min.
Année de production : 2005
Film inspiré de la série Les Chevaliers du ciel
Distribué par Pathé Distribution


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