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I can't believe the reviews I have read about Top Gun being technically
inaccurate, not enough character development, an overall simple and childish
plot... gimme a freegin' break! This film was made to look cool, sound cool,
and define cool. Yeah, okay, the MiG-28s are really F-5 Tigers; I've read
the 'goofs' section before. And Tom Cruise's height. And about 'Maverick
going supersonic - I'll be there in 30 seconds,' and the laws of physics
preventing him from covering 200 or so miles from the carrier in that time.
Whatever! So what! If Top Gun had tried to be accurate and true-to-life in
every respect, it would have been some oh-so-serious flick like Courage
Under Fire. Here's some examples of what I mean:
1 - what's the best way to evade cannon fire? Do a snazzy barrel roll. Problem solved!
2 - the MiG pilots have tinted visors. The good guys don't. Go figure.
2.5 - Russian planes are actually grey or green. The MiG 28s are black. The Tomcats are... yeah, you guessed it... white! Good vs. Evil.
3 - Modern air-to-air combat is usually fought at distances of tens of miles between aircraft. Top Gun uses much cooler spitting-distance WWI era tactics.
4 - "It's too close for missiles. I'm switching to guns!" Enough said.
5 - the generic guy carrying coffee who gets knocked over by the fuming air-control officer. We never see him get up. Classic.
6 - even the edited TV version is a few steps above normal-cool. "... you'll be flying a cargo plane ... out of Hong Kong!"
7 - the way Iceman says, "Mayday, Mav's in trouble. He's in a flat spin, and heading out to sea."
8 - the graceful way Top Gun maintained a PG rating, without using the F-word once.
Top Gun came out in 1986. That's 1986. Seventeen years ago. It rocked then... it rocks now. Just watch it and have some fun.
Absolute cheese on a stick, but Top Gun proves that that's not always a bad thing. This movie's got everything - an arrogant prodigy who'd be out on his arse if he wasn't so good, a sensible, uglier best friend, a love interest (although she's a bit of a mess), an arch nemesis and his dumb sidekick, a few cool high fives and catchphrases, an emotional death scene, a euphoric victory scene and of course, some unforgettable action scenes. What more could any red-blooded child of the eighties ask for!? And anyone born around 1980 will remember how everyone was doing that double high five and saying 'talk to me, goose' to the kid next to them in class. Certainly one of my all time favourites.
If there's ever proof of the cachet of Naval Aviation, this is it. Those
poor Air Force guys got a trio of "Iron Eagle" flicks that went from bad
horrible, whereas the Navy flyboys got this great 1980's classic. Sure,
cheesy and corny, but it makes the cheese and corn taste pretty damn good.
cynic might argue that it's just a two hour long Navy recruiting ad (one
that worked for me, two years later I found my ass in Pensacola sweating
through AOCS, short for Aviation Officer Candidate School, the program
immortalized in "An Officer and a Gentleman") but by making a pro-Navy
movie, the filmmakers also got invaluable technical assistance from top
aviators, and it shows.
For starters, although this movie takes numerous liberties in order to entertain, the basic setup, in which fighter pilots from the fleet get sent to NAS Miramar, aka, "Top Gun" for intensive training, is 100% accurate. The Navy, back during Vietnam, was getting sick of losing too many pilots in air-to-air combat. The problem, they discovered, was their fighter jocks had been trained for purely long-range missile interceptions, meaning they'd lost their dogfighting skills. And, in Vietnam, several American planes were accidentally shot down by their own side by missiles, so, as a safety factor, enemy planes had to be visually identified, meaning American pilots were back to engaging the enemy at short range, hence the need for dogfighting. The "Top Gun" school was started as a result, and the rest is history.
Now, back to the movie. Tom Cruise is Maverick, a hotshot pilot but also somewhat unstable. If "Risky Business" launched his career as a movie star, then "Top Gun" cemented it. Guys wanted to be like him, and women of course lusted after him. The plot is pure formula, but executed with consummate professionalism. The team who put this movie together knew exactly how to push all the right buttons. But the crème de la crème is surely the flying. I don't think that any movie, before or since, has ever rendered air combat in a more convincing and dramatic fashion. For nearly 100 years fighter pilots have been the modern equivalent of olden knights, men who brought a sense of glamour and romance to the deadly art of war, and this movie gives them a fitting tribute.
The fact that people are still writing about this film 15yrs after it was first released (and I'm not just talking about me!) really says a lot. I was dubious about writing a comment, seeing as it really has been ages since it was released and thinking that most people who wanted to see it probably already have. After recently watching it for the umpteenth time on TV, I felt compelled to write a quickie ;) I have to say, it's the first time I looked up Top Gun on the imdb and I was actually quite surprised that it only received a 6.4 rating. If you haven't seen the movie yet, don't judge it by the ratings, read a few user comments first and just rent it out, I guarantee you'll have a good time, especially with its amazing soundtrack! The best 80's songs ever written, I still get chills down my back listening to them ;) It's a simple plot but there's something about it that makes it a seriously enjoyable film and one you can watch time and time again. Go have fun! Enjoy!
Top gun, loved and loathed by many alike. The film that launched Tom
Cruise's career. I'm a student and watching Top Gun for me is an
amazing uplifting experience. A 'feel good' movie that could lift the
worse of moods.
The film executes cheese to perfection, yes there are some silly lines but there are some real good ones too! The aerial action sequences are truly amazing, and for 1986 nothing short of magnificent.
The reason why Top Gun appeals to me...Imagine yourself on a Saturday night, not painting the town red staying in for the night. You have your few cans of Budweiser, your nachos what more could you ask for.
From the amazing flight sequences, Mavericks motorbike, trashy romance and to the cool 80's soundtrack. Top Gun should be taken for what it is. An entertaining Film.
Top Gun is a high quality, visually stunning film that does all it can
to take your breath away. It is the excellently choreographed dog
fights that remain in the mind longer than anything as they are high
octane, dazzling bursts of excitement which bring the film to life.
However, fighter jet sequences do not make a film and it is the plot
where Top Gun has some occasional problems.
Parts of the story are overly cheesy and clichéd. The proud to be American theme is dire, repetitive and anyone who dislikes over patriotism in films will despise this. The story line involving Tom Cruise and Tom Skerrit approaches boredom and is the pinnacle of Top Gun's cheese. 'Cheese' is OK, as long as it is not serious and that is where that specific story line falls flat. The fun cheesy parts are some of the films best moments. The volleyball scene is truly a classic and the four actors involved are genuinely enjoying themselves. The relationship between Tom Cruise and Anthony Edwards is also very moving at times and the dynamic they have makes for great viewing.
The acting is what saves Top Gun from being Tinsel town garbage. Tom Cruise launched his career with this film. His cocky smile makes him perfect for this role and Cruise does fantastically at portraying a determined, passionate character. It is the emotional scenes where Cruise really sets himself apart from his peers. Cruise provides the few scenes where the audience are made to feel any emotion and he carries out his responsibility creditably. Anthony Edwards as Goose is also effective as the man who takes second spot to Cruise's Maverick. He is instantly popular with the audience with his wit, humour and charm. Val Kilmer and Rick Rossovich are great as the rivals. They play off each other really well and do a fantastic job to personify arrogance. Michael Ironside does what he does best and once again, manages to go through a whole film without smiling.
The story between Cruise and Kelly McGillis is very romantic and sensual. The heat between them is conveyed very well on screen and it is this that sets Top Gun above films such as Iron Eagle and Chuck Norris films.
Berlin's 'Take My Breath Away' is a song that still gets a good deal of airplay and suits this film to perfection; it's cheesy and its 80s. The music is very effective at setting the mood and complements the feel of the film.
Top Gun is a film that achieves its objectives, to entertain. If you're looking for intelligent writing or mass thought provocation, this film isn't for you. Top Gun is best suited to those who desire to switch off their brain and enjoy.
There is a school of thought that says all movies should be compared on an absolute scale. It would say that movies must have a high level of credibility or familiarity in order to be "good" movies. People who fall into this category simply should not watch Top Gun. They won't enjoy it. Other people take the opposite, but no more valid approach of looking a each movie individually, disregarding all else but the movie. For these people, no outside reality or credibility is important, because for them, a movie exists to entertain in whatever way it chooses to. These people would enjoy Top Gun very much. It is extremely doubtful that the producers ever even considered making Top Gun as a portrait of a fighter pilot's life, and this is why it is entertaining. It is a rare type of movie, one that no one dares to make today, one that not only transcends reality, but wears it as a mask into the world of fantasy. Everything from the wild dogfights to the fake love to the over the top glamorized (or should I say canonized) characters lets you know that this is a good old American hero drama. That is why it is a horrible and fraudulent portrait of reality, and that is why I love it.
Top Gun is undoubtedly one of my favourite films, and one of those that has the ability to keep enthralling you even while watching for the tenth time. Director Tony Scott was chosen after the producers saw his work in advertising, and true to their judgement he has produced a visual masterpiece. It looks simply gorgeous, and the live action sequences have never been bettered. If there is one flaw in the film it is that it is somewhat shallow, with all of the people behind the film (and Tom Cruise) rather better at making visual spectaculars than an engaging story. However the story does work well in drawing you into the world of Maverick and his fellow naval aviators, Cruise forms an excellent rapport with Anthony Edwards as Goose, and the dialogue is snappy and eminently quotable. Everyone has at some stage used Maverick's line - "I couls tell you, but then I'd have to kill you", and the cover of the Righteous Brothers is unforgettable. The film is backed by one of the best soundtracks of the decade, and a very strong supporting cast. In my opinion, the film succeeds in everything it sets out to achieve. A cracking script, a gripping story, and simply stunning aerial photography. You have to see this film.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
There were a number of great films that came out in the 1980s, but Top
Gun nearly single-handedly stigmatized that era as being one of utter
crap. Released in 1986, the film was a massive blockbuster, but aside
from marveling over its technicalities and surface glitz, it is a near
indefensible film, even as far as popcorn summer flicks go.
The plot if one chooses to lavish such a description on it basically focuses on a group of crème de la crème aerial fighter pilots who attend an elite flight school in California and compete to see who will be Top Gun.
So much for the plot! The focal character is a cocky, swaggering air jockey named Maverick, played with exuberant arrogance by Tom Cruise. All of the pilots spend their days either doing absurdly risky aerial acrobatics or preening around like peacocks displaying their plumage. Maverick functions as a veritable checklist of clichés for the modern action hero. His dead father was a pilot legend, but with a cloud hanging over him, which gives Maverick major daddy issues. The new adviser at the school just happens to be Kelly McGillis, the sexy woman that Maverick tried to pick up at the local bar the evening before with an embarrassing Righteous Brothers serenade (only the film seems to think it is charming!). Maverick's best friend is a pre-ER Anthony Edwards, who is a funny and sensitive family man married to ditzy Meg Ryan. And given that he is stuck with the nickname of Goose when all the other guys have coy macho nicknames like Iceman, Wolfman and Viper, you get the correct impression that this will be the film's sacrificial lamb to give Maverick his crisis in swaggering. Maverick also has a rivalry with another flyer, played by Val Kilmer, but since that plot thread is forgotten almost as soon as it is introduced, it seems pointless to comment on it.
The film has been rightfully accused of heralding in the era of ADHD-action filmmaking, drowning in jingoism, featuring blatant homoeroticism and being little more than a feature length music video. The fact that there is some truth to all of those accusations may make the film seem like great dumb fun or a guilty pleasure, but that overlooks the fact that it is mind-deadeningly tedious.
Director Tony Scott provides slick direction and the cinematography is spectacular, but nothing can detract from the fact that the film is emotionally lifeless and intellectually vacant. There are literally entire passages that seem to be nothing more than extended music videos. The film is bookended by aerial dogfights against faceless unknown enemies. Who are they and what are their nefarious plans? The film doesn't care. This may well be the first action film ever that fails to feature either a villain or any identifiable central conflict. Which pilot will become Top Gun at the flight school? The film could also care less about that since it is treated as irrelevant. In fact, precious few things seem to matter in this morass of noise than the next flashing light, billowing flag or whizzing plane.
Bad film aficionados can laugh over the film's introduction of McGillis as our country's foremost expert aerial tactician, who has never set foot in a cockpit. Cruise and McGillis have a nonexistent sexual chemistry and spend the duration of the film lobbing their lines at each other like grenades and staring with such intensity that one fears a detached retina. Truthfully, there is nothing wrong with McGillis's acting here, but she is included in the film for only two cynical reasons. First, every action film must have "the girl". Second, because her character attests to the red-blooded heterosexuality of our leading man.
The second is apparently important because Scott often depicts the hunky pilots as sex objects. They are often parading around in tighty-whities or precariously balanced towels fresh from the shower trying to out-macho each other and filmed with the blatant sexuality of a Calvin Klein perfume commercial. One lengthy sequence depicting a volleyball game is completely pointless to the film unless it is needed to pad the time out or the film wishes to showcase the sweaty bodies of the guys in tiny shorts you be the judge. Of course, since the film refuses to step outside of PG-rated territory lest they lose their target audience of intellectually stunted adolescents, there is no actual nudity. In truth, while all of the displays of male skin are initially enticing, like the film itself, it becomes an annoyingly empty tease after a while.
Although many have forgotten it, Cruise has demonstrated some great acting. While he is ideally iconic and definitely at his sexiest as Maverick, it becomes a thundering bore to watch him reduced to repeatedly strut across the screen with a smarmy grin plastered to his face and offer little else. Edwards turns in the film's best performance as Goose, largely because he is allowed to be affable and appealing without being saddled with the obnoxious posturing of some of the other characters. Tom Skerritt is on hand to provide a bit of maturity as a semi-mentor, but the remainder of the cast including Kilmer, John Stockwell, Tim Robbins, have literally nothing to do but function as scenery.
Arguably the film's greatest weakness is that we have no rooting interest in anything that transpires on screen. Nothing seems credible, threatening or of any urgency. The film seems placidly laid-back about everything including its action sequences, which will fail to lift the pulse of the most non-demanding viewer. Although this has been elevated as a somewhat dubious icon of 1980s filmmaking, this may well be the first hit action film with a complete lack of humor and a dearth of any real action.
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