Maverick is a hot pilot. When he encounters a pair of MiGs over the Persian Gulf, his wingman is clearly outflown and freaks. On almost no fuel, Maverick is able to talk him back down to the Carrier. When his wingman turns in his wings, Maverick is moved up in the standings and sent to the Top Gun Naval Flying School. There he fights the attitudes of the other pilots and an old story of his father's death in combat that killed others due to his father's error. Maverick struggles to be the best pilot, stepping on the toes of his other students and in a different way to Charlie, a civilian instructor to whom he is strongly attracted. Written by
John Vogel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Top Gun it can be argued is the perfect Reagan Era film and is is definitely the film that cemented Tom Cruise's stardom. It's probably now the film that most people will identify him with.
Cruise plays Pete Mitchell aka Maverick who gets recommended for the Navy's elite Top Gun fighter pilot school. The best of the best train here at what they euphemistically call Fightertown, USA. The problem Tom has is he's the best and he knows it. That doesn't near and endear him to his fellow pilots.
You can add Top Gun to a list of films that goes all the way back to Task Force where the story of the development of the aircraft carrier was told, to The Bridges at Toko-Ri which was a film that told about the first jet air war in Korea. What Gary Cooper flew in Task Force and what William Holden piloted in The Bridges at Toko-Ri are as ancient to Cruise's generation as what Eddie Rickenbacker flew in the first World War was to Holden and Cooper.
One thing that has not left is that war in the air still is the glamor service because it allows a record of individual achievement. And with flying combat at the speeds they do, one has to make less than split second decisions. The men are better now than they were in the previous wars simply because they have to be.
Cruise is ably assisted by such folks as Tim Rossovich, Barry Tubb, Clarence Gilyard, Whip Hubley, and Adrian Pasdar as fellow pilots at the Top Gun school. Val Kilmer turns in a nice performance as Cruise's number one rival to be number one in the class.
Best in the film besides Tom is Anthony Edwards as his co-pilot and best friend. His death scene with Cruise is particularly poignant as is Edwards's wife Meg Ryan's scene with Tom as he breaks the news.
Romance for Cruise is provided by Kelly McGillis who certainly had her choice of hunks to fall for, but this film doe seem to make a point that women like confidence in their men even if it can be overbearing at times to those around. McGillis is a civilian instructor so the romance does not bring Tom or her under military fraternization infractions.
Top Gun is a film every bit as good as the ones I mentioned before. Tom Cruise was never more appealing on the screen. And this review is dedicated to the fighter pilots of the United States Navy, some of the best and brightest of the younger generation who are defending freedom for old codgers like me.
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