Saturday, March 28, 2009

Top Gun (1986) [PG] ****

Lt. Pete Maverick Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is a brash, fearless, young naval aviator... in the words of his air wing commander, he’s a hell of an instinctive pilot, maybe too good. While stationed somewhere in the Indian Ocean on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, Maverick and his RIO Goose (Anthony Edwards) fly a dangerous intercept mission and have a daring encounter with a MIG-28, after which Maverick risks their lives and their low-on-fuel F-14 Tomcat to guide his traumatized wingman back to their carrier. As a reward for his bravery, Maverick and Goose are selected to attend TOP GUN the Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, California, where the very best pilots are trained to be even better, to fly their aircraft right to the edge of the performance envelope.

While at TOP GUN Maverick meets and falls for Charlotte Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), an astrophysicist and civilian contractor. Unfortunately, his reckless bravado also involves him in a fatal aircraft accident, which reconnects him with the pain and loss he felt when his father died in an F-4 Phantom in Vietnam, when Maverick was only a child. Deciding to quit TOP GUN, Maverick first seeks the advice of the school commander, Commander Mike Viper Metcalf (Tom Skerritt).

In a pivotal scene Maverick acknowledges that he flies the way he does because he's trying to clear his father's name. While details of his father's death were classified because of where the aerial dogfight had occurred, the rumor was that he had failed, and a cloud had hung over Maverick all his life. As Viper and Maverick gently slide into the roles of father and son, Viper reveals that he had been in the air with Maverick's father that day, and that the pilot was really a hero. This knowledge allows Maverick to let his father go, to step into adulthood, and to fulfill his potential as a naval aviator.

Top Gun can be enjoyed as a young man's rite-of-passage, as a naval aviation recruiting film, or as a romantic drama. While there are credible performances from Cruise, McGillis, Skerritt and Edwards, and from the supporting cast, especially Val Kilmer, Michael Ironside, Rick Rossovich and Meg Ryan, there is virtually no romantic chemistry between Cruise and McGillis. Featuring a powerful, soundtrack and interesting aerial combat sequences, Top Gun remains an iconic 1980s action film.

Labels: action, drama, flying, romance, tragedy

Internet Movie Database
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=58, viewers=70)

Top Gun soundtrack:

You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling

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