This film has some of the best flight sequences I have ever seen. The cinematography is superb, and one gets a glimpse into the speed a pilot experiences as he tries to outmaneuver an oncoming missile; it also shows the "nuts and bolts" of the ejection seat process, which I found fascinating.
Having fairly low expectations for this film, I was amazed at how entertaining and visually stunning it actually is, and am surprised it did not receive greater success in its theatrical release.
It takes place in Bosnia during an imaginary time, with US forces under NATO command, and though fiction, it uses captions at the end, telling the audience what happened to the characters, as if it were a true story.
Filmed on the USS Carl Vinson, and in Slovakia, with the beauty of the Carpathian mountains as a backdrop for the horror of a war zone, director John Moore keeps the pace of this film constantly pumping. Though some characters are somewhat cartoonish, and the script at times silly, much of the acting is good. Gene Hackman can always be depended upon for a solid performance, and Owen Wilson does well as the main protagonist, who starts out as being a rather shallow, whiny fellow, and grows with his extreme experience, as he plays a cat and mouse chase with a Serbian "tracker", played by Russian actor Vladimir Maskov. Gabriel Macht is excellent in the smaller part of the fighter pilot Stackhouse.
Yes, there are times the plot is contrived and not altogether believable, but this is more than made up for by the dazzling cinematography by Brandan Galvin, a fine score by Don Davis, and astounding visual and sound effects...and if you like jets and choppers the way I do, you are guaranteed to like this film.