Called to Duty, the new movie by director Ashley L. Gibson, is a sincere attempt to tick all the points on the checklist of an aerial combat action movie, inspired by movies such as Top Gun and its sequel Top Gun: Maverick. Although the movie says it is inspired by the women who were part of the ‘Women Airforce Service Pilots,’ aka the WASP unit, which was a vital part of the American military during World War 2, the scenario and the characters do not seem to be affected by the gravity of the theme. Sure, the contemporary premise of the film has to incorporate modern behavior and relatable jargon, but the finer nuances of the right to equality are missing, which ironically is the point the film hammers onto us in almost every scene.
At one point in Called to Duty, during a life-threatening combat with the enemy, a man says to a woman, ‘That’s my girl’. Am I supposed to forget that they are both working in a professional capacity for the U.S. Army? The dialogue, written by Bobby Hammel in an attempt to sound cool, misses the whole point that could have made this film something greater than what it actually is. The story of Called to Duty revolves around the non-combat wing of the air force, which comprises an all-female crew. Simply known as ‘Wing Girls,’ the members of this crew did not know that they were being prepped for a mission to eliminate the nuclear base of the enemy nation, North Kiyung.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens in ‘Called to Duty’?
‘Wing Girls,’ led by Lieutenant Reibach, has a total of five amazing pilots who are impeccable at maneuvering the military jets. The difference between this crew and the others is that ‘Wing Girls’ is a non-combat crew. It is an air-show unit used as a symbol to display the power of the American Military. The crew members put on shows for the citizens, doing crazy stunts in the air, which enthrall the public watching from below. While the crew was out on the sea on the navy’s aircraft carrier, North Kiyung was planning to attack America. The news of it reached Washington, and the ‘Air Force Last Resort’ (AFLR) was contacted to train the ‘Wing Girls’ for combat without telling them they were about to fight North Kiyung.
How do ‘Wing Girls’ reach the AFLR operation center?
The ship carrying the jets had a male and female crew on board. There was bound to be casual banter between the sexes. Margo Lee, aka Edge, one of the best pilots on board, wasn’t afraid to show her chops against the male crew. When another officer named Jeeter makes sexist comments, Lee makes him taste his own medicine. Later, she even disobeys her leader, Reibach, and does a stunt during a practice session. Reibach didn’t take this too kindly, and neither did Commander Mosko. The members of the ‘Wing Girls’ were suspended, and they went back to their native place to live their mundane lives.
Colonel Julian ‘Bigshot’ Micklin was aware of the dangers of the nuclear missiles being made operational by North Kiyung. He needed the best fighter pilots in the country to invade North Kiyung’s airspace and destroy its nuclear base. They even had American prisoners as young as a 22-year-old boy named Olson. Micklin approached Mosko to give him her best pilots so that they could be trained at the AFLR operation center and prevent North Kiyung’s plan of destruction. Mosko told him that the women had been suspended and sent back home. Micklin stood up for them and asked for the suspension to be nullified. Why Micklin was so hell-bent on getting the ‘Wing Girls’ for the almost suicidal mission in North Kiyung is not explained. He somehow just knew that only they were capable of getting the job done. The women returned, and along with a few exceptional male fighter pilots, they were taken to the AFLR operation center for their training.
How did Lee patch things up with Jeeter?
Reibach was a good leader. The girls under her command had potential, and Reibach nurtured it so it could manifest. Now, the only worrying thing was that elements like Lee were setting precedent for disobedience. She had warned her before, and after reaching AFLR, she warned her again. Men like Jeeter and his friends were constantly provoking Lee, and she wasn’t backing away. She didn’t want to be the laughing stock for the boys at the end of the day. She understood Reibach’s concerns but didn’t want to override her own emotions regarding the issue, which is why she pulled her stunt in AFLR as well and made the authorities question Micklin’s choices.
Micklin stood firm and defended the ‘Wing Girls’ again. Lt. Andrew ‘Bells’ Harris came to the rescue this time. There was an urgent need for the male and female crew to drop their antagonistic attitudes and concentrate on their training. Harris gave an uplifting speech, and the Wing Girls decided to play a baseball match with the male crew. The playful rough and tumble worked perfectly, and the sexist banter stopped. Micklin thought that he would finally have time to fully train the Wing Girls, but the news of the missile attack came too soon. North Kiyung had launched its missile, and Micklin would have to break the news of the combat to Reibach and her crew immediately. Problems emerge as Reibach decides to back out.
‘Called To Duty’ Ending Explained: How Is Reibach Convinced To Fight? Is Lee Dead?
Everybody sensed that they were called to AFLR for a special mission. They just didn’t expect it to be averting a nuclear war. Lee, who wanted to go toe-to-toe with the fighter pilots, was not too deterred by the idea of fighting a war. She had shown her skills and convinced everybody that the ‘Wing Girls’ were truly exceptional. It helped vindicate Micklin, who was under a lot of pressure. He broke the news that they were to be sent to North Kiyung’s airspace within the next 24 hours. Hearing this, Reibach was taken aback. Never had she been told that she and her crew would have to engage in war. They were a non-combat crew, and Reibach was a devoted Christian, believing in the value of love over violence. She immediately decided to walk away, disobeying the order. It meant that she could be on her way to suspension or something harsher. But she couldn’t violate her moral values unless it was for the greater good, and at the time, she just couldn’t see it.
Commander Mosko, whose husband was killed in North Kiyung, came to convince Reibach to lead her unit and fight for the country. She tried to convince Reibach by making her remember her father, who would’ve wanted Reibach to fight in the war. Lee and the others wanted their leader around, and when Reibach saw that North Kiyung had killed Olson, the young boy, she decided to fight. She realized what Lee and others had been talking about. North Kiyung saw America only as a military country and spread nasty propaganda against it, making it look like an evil country when it was North Kiyung that was killing innocent young ones. Reibach, being a patriot of the highest order, couldn’t sit idly while others went to fight.
The crew prepared to fight and were sent off to North Kiyung’s airspace. The country seemed extremely primitive at first, with obsolete-looking machinery. It was actually a ploy to deceive the enemy. Lee was her usual self, ready to take the enemy to the cleaners. Soon, she learned that it was almost impossible to get out of there alive. The obsolete machinery suddenly became operational and began to shoot missiles at the fighter jets. Jeeter, Harris, Lee, and others had some success initially, but the missiles were incoming at an unprecedented rate. A total of seven members were presumed dead after their jets incurred heavy damage and they fell down. Lee seemed to have fallen closest to the border.
At the end of Called to Duty, Reibach was devastated, as she lost her crew. Micklin, however, consoled her by saying that Lee had been rescued but was in a coma. He told her that the others may also be alive, as North Kiyung had transmitted a message regarding the prison camps of the country ‘smelling beautiful’. According to Micklin, it was a secret code that meant they had the Wing Girls in their camps. Reibach resolved to go on a mission to rescue the others. Lee was a tough customer, and a bet could be placed that even if she was in a coma, she would get better and join Reibach in her mission. Micklin, who had trusted the unit since the beginning, would also provide the necessary backup for it, helping bring back the exceptional ‘Wing Girls.’