Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Top Gun

Top Gun; action, USA, 1986; D: Tony Scott, S: Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, James Tolkan, Meg Ryan

Pete "Maverick" and his partner "Goose" are pilots in the US Air Force. At a bar, Maverick tries to seduce a blond girl in a bet - only to find out the next day that she is their Top Gun instructor, Charlotte "Charlie". The pilots spend their days training in the military fighter planes, whereas Maverick falls in love with Charlotte. However, during a routine assignment, Maverick's plane malfunctions and crashes, killing his friend, Goose. Traumatized, Maverick contemplates abandoning the post, but returns and completes it with flying colors when he intercepts and destroys several unidentified enemy war planes while saving a communication ship in the Indian ocean.

Jokingly referred to as the most expensive or longest promotional video for the US Air Force, "Top Gun" is indeed too flat and simplistic in its storyline development, yet still has that 80s flair that gives it a certain charm even today. Director Tony Scott dresses the film in aesthetic images and wonderful, modern, crystal clear cinematography, yet they all seem to just be a camouflage for the fact that there is very little in the most crucial part of the film, its story and characters, who - except in the marvellous aerial shots of fighter planes in the sky - spend too much time on bland or schematic interaction, ranging from playing volleyball on the beach or driving in a motorcycle. Such a disparity between content and style would eventually become an all too familiar trait in later Jerry Bruckheimer produced films. Even the story build up is cliche, following the typical prototype of such films: the hero starts as a newbie, gets into a crisis and self-doubt, only to save the day at the end. The best moments are the ones that add some spice into "Top Gun", mostly humorous ones, especially in the sequence where Maverick tries to seduce a blond woman in a bar - only to find out she is his unit's instructor the next day.


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