Top Gun (1986) (PG)
"Top Gun" is a movie about being the best. Not being your best...being the best. Arguably Tony Scott's biggest hit, "Top Gun" is set in present day 'merica.
During the opening scene of "Top Gun" we are introduced to the setting of fighter pilots—"dogfighting" one character says, which brings back thoughts to WWI and the introduction to such a method of combat.
The opening sequence reveals quite a lot about our main character Maverick (Tom Cruise). Our boys are fighting a couple of MiGs—only two American planes are in the air, combating two of the enemies. After scaring off the enemy with such daring feats including flying upside down above the opposition's plane and flipping them off, Maverick's wingman has a nervous breakdown and is unable to land the plane. First of all, I didn't buy the nervous breakdown; but whatever...
Coaxing his wingman to the ground, Maverick is already an established character: flashy, talented, reckless, arrogant, but also loyal and ethical.
Maverick is paired with Radar Intercept Officer Goose (Anthony Edwards); and if you haven't figured it out by now, the movie deals heavily with cutesy nicknames the men give to each other. These two are given the opportunity to attend Top Gun, the Navy's top fighter plane school.
Already bursting with too much ego, Maverick meets a pretty girl (Kelly McGillis) who doesn't seem offended by a group of men screaming song lyrics at her for her attention.
"Top Gun" has a stereotypical hero: good-looking with Daddy issues and a screw-the-rulebook attitude.
Punctuated with 80s songs, there is nothing special about this movie. It was a commercial success when it was released, but time has been cruel to this movie.
Perhaps it's because it's set in the present day that "Top Gun" hurts itself...all the audience sees is how much Tom Cruise has aged.
Though the film implies that the bad guys are Russian, this isn't actually stated. They are cleverly left un-nationalized.
Perhaps the best known secret of "Top Gun" is how gay it is...Quentin Tarantino made sure of this in his role in the 1994 film "Sleep with Me". If you go into the movie thinking this, it's impossible to shake. The homoeroticism of the film is tangible, you can touch it (perhaps not the best use of words, huh?). If you don't believe me, I direct you to the scene in which one man yells out, "I want some butts!" He is, of course, referring to Maverick and Goose's butts. I digress...
The thought of being the best fades for a little as a romance takes over; a very awkward romance I might add. Besides everything in the film developing too quickly, I really didn't want to see Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis tongue kissing on every opportunity they got. Seriously, you don't have to use backlight for us to understand what's happening.
The dialogue is filled with sexuality...I felt like screaming, "That's what she said!" at the screen at every scene; but I restrained myself (and I'm proud of that, because it took a lot of self-control).
Pop hits, cheap romance, flashy action...it's a popcorn movie.
But it's not altogether unenjoyable, it has its few moments.
The dogfights are what is famous besides the line "The need for speed"; yet these scenes don't even compare to the dogfights from "Wings" (1927).
It's ridiculous, unintentionally hilarious, and sometimes dull. I can see why a lot of people like it; but I wasn't a fan.
Score: 2 out of 4 stars
Posted by Micah Jones