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Combining instances of family turmoil and courage in the face of death, AMERICAN FLYERS focuses on a pair of cyclist brothers. Twenty-year-old David Grant, a college dropout, thinks only about bicycle racing. His brother, Kevin Costner, a doctor of sports medicine, is convinced Grant is
prone to the same physical condition that brought about their father's premature death. Along with Costner's girl friend, Rae Dawn Chong, the brothers travel across the country to the Colorado Rockies to compete in the "Hell of the West Race," in which their major competitor is Chong's ex-husband.
The race produces some shocking medical results, as well as displays of great courage, en route to the film's emotional finale. Unfortunately, the script by Steve Tesich--who wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for BREAKING AWAY (1979), an immeasurably better film about cycling and family
relationships--is disjointed and underdeveloped. John Badham's direction is equally uninspired, though the climactic race, shot on location during the Coors International Bicycle Classic, is filmed with an abundance of breathtaking helicopter shots that capture the beautiful scenery.