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A technically flashy actioner that only makes half the flight.

  • Apr 16, 2011
Rating:
-1
** out of ****


"Top Gun" does not disappoint. It's what you'd expect out of a Tony Scott-directed action film, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and starring Tom Cruise. I don't know about you, but I'd expect mediocrity, and mediocre is what this movie is. I can't say it's a let-down; but I can't say it's much of a recommendation either.

The problem I have with "Top Gun" is its lack of strong characters, inspired dialogue, or interesting story-telling. It deals with many ideas and concepts that could have been perfected by such a visually thrilling craftsman as Scott, although what we get is a decent piece of mediocre entertainment, but not much more. This film could have been better, and it could have also been more entertaining. As hard as that is to imagine, they could have done it. And no matter what I say, some people will enjoy this movie. They will find it fun, unique, hip, and thrilling. I find it a tad boring, tedious, but none the less a masterwork in sheer technical craft. But even that's not enough to save this jet from getting shot down.

Our hero is kind of a hot-shot, and that's probably why he's played by Tom Cruise; the king of pretentious "cool". The hero goes by the name of Maverick, and most of his comrades have a bird for a name as well; which makes sense considering they're all Naval Aviators.

Maverick uses his hot-shot awesomeness to land himself a chance at becoming "top gun" at a Fighter Weapons School, as it is described. As with stories such as this, the young, charming hero is determined, but also distracted by love. Maverick falls for a female instructor, who he begins a crucial romance with. So there's generic and tame love-making scenes, kissing, and making-up toward the end. Great. And I thought this damned movie was about flying jets.

Oh, but it is about jets! This film does, in fact, contain some of the most beautifully photographed flight-sequences I've ever seen. These scenes are appropriately thrilling, and they're a big part of why I so much as ADMIT this film is well-made. However, when the actors are forced to open their mouths, nothing particularly interesting tends to come out. The dialogue is never laugh-out-loud awful, but by the end, we're wondering why we stuck by these characters. None of them are worth our time, although none of them are unbearably unlikable. There's a rival character, portrayed nicely by the talented Val Kilmer, who has done better work. Cruise himself has had better days, but this isn't one of his worst films, so I'm willing to forgive. You've got a whole cast of potentially likable people, but nobody is portrayed or detailed perfectly enough for us to really give a damn.

As for the romantic and dramatic aspects...well, they fail. They're laughably uninspired. But then again, they're the only laughable thing(s) within this movie. The rest is smooth-sailing; a breezy, somewhat entertaining film that thrills one moment, and bores the next. This is an unholy mix, but this movie was not a bad idea. The problem is that Tony Scott is a good filmmaker; he's just not a great one, and he's really, really not that good when it comes to story-telling. But even then, he's made impressive films; and this is not one of them. But if you want some admittedly kick-ass aerial dog-fight/flight scenes, then you've got 'em. You get at least some of what you came for. Win-win.

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More Top Gun reviews
Quick Tip by . August 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The original "modern-day" dogfighting movie still wears the crown as the best of the best, even if it IS dated. Newer, CG-motivated jet fighter films such as 'Behind Enemy Lines' & 'Stealth' never quite reach the level of authenticity that Top Gun achieves with its true-to-life flight footage. Remember: As callsign Viper famously said, "There are no points for second place." Chester's dead, YEE-HAW!
review by . December 02, 2009
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Directed by Tony Scott, in Top Gun Maverick (Tom Cruise) competes against other fighter pilots to be the top of the class.      Top Gun is filled with a bunch of great flight scenes, and considered a classic Tom Cruise movie, which is why it makes the Top Ten Tom Cruise Movies list.
review by . April 01, 2008
Cool Guy
This was the movie that made me a Tom Cruise fan.... for 2 hours at least.  These were the movies that made the 80s.  Its got it all, action, drama, comedy, romance, you name it.  And I'm not ashame to admit it.  I cried when Goose died.  He will always be the greatest "Wingman" ever!!!
review by . August 21, 2000
Pros: Nice script which touches on virtually all facets of a story     Cons: Meg Ryan's annoying Southern accent; Dizzying camera angles; HIS NAME WAS PETE!!!     Top Gun is one of Dionne's favorite movies. As you all know, Dionne and I are best friends. She loves Tom Cruise, whereas I thinks he's okay at best. Tonight, after an impromptu pizza party in the Commons, Dionne, Erik, Casino, Corrina, Scott and I decided to watch Top Gun. To tell you the truth, …
review by . August 21, 2000
Pros: Nice script which touches on virtually all facets of a story     Cons: Meg Ryan's annoying Southern accent; Dizzying camera angles; HIS NAME WAS PETE!!!     Top Gun is one of Dionne's favorite movies. As you all know, Dionne and I are best friends. She loves Tom Cruise, whereas I thinks he's okay at best. Tonight, after an impromptu pizza party in the Commons, Dionne, Erik, Casino, Corrina, Scott and I decided to watch Top Gun. To tell you the truth, …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Top Gun is a 1986 American film directed by Tony Scott and produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer in association with Paramount Pictures. The screenplay was written by Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr., and was inspired by an article written by Ehud Yonay for California Magazine entitled "Top Guns." The film stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer and Tom Skerritt.

The film follows LT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, a young Naval aviator who aspires to be a top fighter pilot in the United States Navy Fighter Weapons School, which trains the top 1% of all Naval aviators. Maverick gets his chance to attend the school after one of the pilots drop out, allowing him and his RIO (Radar Intercept Officer, the "back seater" in the two-man F-14 Tomcat) LTJG Nick "Goose" Bradshaw to train with the best. The film opened in America on May 16, 1986 to good reviews, the aerial scenes being most notably praised. Similar praise followed soon afterwards when the film broke records at the box office, becoming a mega hit. The film accumulated over $350 million worldwide, and broke home-video sales records.

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