Tuesday, August 21, 2012

754. TOP GUN (1986)

Running Time: 119 minutes
Directed By: Tony Scott
Written By: Jim Cash, Jacks Epps Jr., from article by Ehud Yonay
Main Cast: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Rick Rossovich
Click here to view the trailer

TONY SCOTT: 1944 - 2012

With the death of Tony Scott taking place only two days ago, I felt it would be appropriate to watch and review his only film from THE BOOK, "Top Gun". I had already had it scheduled for this 100 anyway, so it didn't take much maneuvering to squeeze it in. I'll be honest and say that I wasn't necessarily a Tony Scott fan, although I do remember enjoying "Man on Fire", "Enemy of the State" and "Beverly Hills Cop II" to a certain extent.

"Top Gun" made tons of dough in 1986, put Tom Cruise on the map and utilized a handful of classic Hollywood cliches that are still going strong today. Cruise plays Lt. Peter "Maverick" Mitchell, a U.S. Naval aviator and one who thinks he's the man when it comes to navigating his Tomcat through the sky. While Maverick thinks he's the man, most of his superiors and piers think he's just plain dangerous, relying on his cocky attitude in the air to make a name for himself. Maverick's radar intercept (co-pilot, to the average joe) Goose (Edwards) is his best friend in the skies and on the ground and when the opportunity comes along for the two to attend Top Gun school, where all the best pilots gather to become the best of the best, they jump at the chance. At Top Gun school the two buds meet a host of other top notch pilots, including Iceman (Kilmer), Slider (Rossovich) and their instructor, Viper (Tom Skerritt). Even among the elite Maverick is still confident that he'll come out of Top Gun school as the points leader, as all the students are fighting to be named top of the class. There's also a second plot involving Kelly McGillis, who plays Charlie, Maverick's love interest and a civilian Top Gun instructor.

Yes, "Top Gun" made loads of dough in 1986, but that certainly wasn't any reason to give it inclusion into a book of must see films. It simply isn't a must see folks, if you ask this guy and it's a shame that "Top Gun" was included as one of the 1001 entries when other, more important films were left out in the cold. The film is basically just a vehicle for Tom Cruise and used to lure females, aging from 15 - 25, into the theaters to get a look at the hunky actor. Think "Magic Mike" and exchange the stripper gear for pilots gear.

SIDENOTE: I just looked up to make sure that "Magic Mike" was about male strippers, as I usually don't sit up and take notice whenever Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey show up on my TV screen shirtless and saw that this film was actually directed by STEVEN SODERBERGH!!! Really? He USUALLY makes quality films. Could "Magic Mike" be a quality film??.......Nah. 

Okay, maybe it's not that blatant an eye candy film, but certainly the females were the target audience and certainly their plan worked, as "Top Gun" grossed an approximate $176 million domestically. There's a completely useless scene that proves my point, in which Cruise, Kilmer, Rossovich and Edwards play a good, old-fashioned game of shirtless volleyball and something that was clearly added to get whimpers from the female movie goers. As for this movie goer, I was, for the most part, bored to tears, wanting these pilots to land their planes and wrap up A.S.A.P, but wouldn't you know they used every bit of a two hour running time. The film is also very 80s, using a score that's sure to take you back, with songs like "Danger Zone" and "Take My Breath Away". If you're planning an all 80s night at your apartment, with your CD player blaring Michael Jackson tunes, make sure you put "Top Gun" on the television because it'll fit in perfectly. It also had that classic Hollywood blueprint that really came into effect in the 1980s - arrogant heartthrob meets a girl, she's not interested at first but then ends up in bed with him a few scenes later, he gets knocked down a few pegs, learns a lesson and triumphs in the end. All is right with the world!

I'm no Tom Cruise fan and at this stage of his career, he certainly hadn't honed the skills that he would later use in more serious roles such as, "Magnolia", "The Last Samurai" and the Mission: Impossible franchise. I do like Val Kilmer, but he wasn't allowed to flourish here and was simply used as Cruise's competition and general dick. I still scratch my head and wonder how in the world Kelly McGillis got such steady work in the 80s. She wasn't THAT pretty and her acting skills left a lot to be desired. I'll stop trashing the late Tony Scott's work for now. It simply wasn't for me and I really think that the only reason it was included in THE BOOK was for it's popularity and that alone. This book really makes me scratch my head sometimes, especially when you have fluffy Hollywood movies sharing the same binding with the likes of some real classics and definite must sees.

RATING: 4/10  I can't go TOO low, because it wasn't all bad. They were able to shy away from Cruise's bare chest and the "Take My Breath Away" theme long enough to put in some mildly exciting sequences in the air, but then again, that's not my bag either.


August 21, 2012  6:22pm

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