Biggles or Biggles: Adventures in Time as it was released in the United States, is a 1986 British adventure film based on the characters from the Biggles series of novels by W.E. Johns, but unlike the original books which were the adventures of a fighter pilot in the World Wars, the film instead incorporated the characters into a time travel story involving an american businessman from the present day. This was mostly done as an attempt at cashing in on the then recent Back To The Future, with mixed success, while the original plan of a straight forward adaptation about the adventures of a World War One flying ace probably would have made for a better and more timeless film I still love the film we got.
And I have to mention one of my all time favourite film lines that shows up in the final scene of the film; "Quick, untie us! Get us out of here before they start realising you're not a God, you're just an American!" I just love it!
The film has problems to be sure, while I like the score and soundtrack it doesn’t always mesh with whats on screen, I may love 'Do You Wanna Be A Hero' so its placement over a WW1 dogfight just sounds awesome to me, but even I can't defend John Anderson's other song on the soundtrack 'Chocks Away', it may be a fun song on its own but it sounds way out of place over the WW1 action. But there are many great pieces in the score, such as the jaunty action theme that plays a few times or the hollowing pice that plays the first time our hero's truly see what he german super weapon can do. It's a bit of a bummer that Biggles is somewhat side lined in his own film but Ferguson is an enjoyable enough lead and Biggles is so wonderfully written and acted it's always a joy when he returns to the screen. And as time travel stories are often to do there are some logical leaps of faith needed by the audience, such as the whole time-twin thing, and Peter Cushing's character should have been much older than he was, but if you are like me you will be having too much fun to notice or care about these points.
The cast is great, especially Neil Dickson who is perfect as Biggles, he would go on to reprise the role in all but name a year latter in 'It Couldn't Happen Here', and he would also name drop the film in 'She-Wolf of London/Love and Curses', a TV series he would star in in the early 90's. Alex Hyde-White does a good job as Ferguson, a good actor who has acted in several film's and TV shows, perhaps most famously remembered as Mister Fantastic in the unreleased (but widely available online) 1994 Fantastic Four movie. Marcus Gilbert is also enjoyably entertaining as the evil Erich Von Stalhein, there is a great scene where he and Biggles talk after the latter has been captured that is just great, also geeks like me will recognise him as Lord Arthur from Army of Darkness and Ancelyn from one of my favourite Doctor Who stories, Battlefield. And of course Peter Cushing needs no introduction, you already know how fantastic he is!
The film was directed by John Hough, a man who directed many films from the late 80's till the early 2000's, though the ones that stand out the most to me are childhood favourites of mine 'Escape to Witch Mountain' and its sequel 'Return to Which Mountain', he also did 'Howling IV: The Original Nightmare' which was his next film after Biggles.
The film is a fun ride and perfect for all ages (may be the first film I've covered where I can actually say that). Check it out, even if you don't enjoy the film as much as I do, you gotta agree that this song rocks!