Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, Bill Badalato (executive) for Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer Films/Paramount
directed by Tony Scott
starring Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Val Kilmer, Anthony Edwards, Tom Skerritt, Michael Ironside, John Stockwell, Barry Tubb, Rick Rossovich, Tim Robbins, Clarence Gilyard jr, Whip Hubley, James Tolkan, Meg Ryan, Adrian Pasdar, Randall Brady, Duke Stroud, Brian Sheehan, Ron Clark, Frank Pesce, Pete Pettigrew, Troy Hunter, Linda Rae Jurgens, T.J. Cassidy
written by Jim Cash, Jack Epps jr, music by Harold Faltermeyer
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Maverick (Tom Cruise), a fighter pilot known for his risky maneuvres,
and his co-pilot Goose (Anthony Edwards), are accepted into a prestigious
school for top pilots rather by chance, and Maverick wants to be top of
the top because of something to do with his father. At the school, others
are soon complaining about Maverick's risk-taking and recklessness, most
of all Ice (Val Kilmer), the one pilot rivaling Maverick's talent but
clearly outdoing him in discipline. However, Maverick soon earns the
respect, then love, of one of the school's civilian instructors, Charlie
(Kelly McGillis). Then on a training mission, Maverick's plane crashes,
and the crash kills Goose. Maverick comes out of it unscathed but has lost
his knack for aerial fights and wants to leave the Navy altogether. But
Charlie and his instructor Viper (Tom Skeritt) convince him otherwise.
However, since he's not 100% there, Ice comes out top of the class. But
then, they're sent on a mission where they have to fight actual enemies.
Who are the enemies? We don't know, but they fly Russian MiGs so they
can't be good people, right? Why is it ok to shoot them out of the air
without being at war? We don't know and are never told. But of course, in
that airfight it's Maverick who saves the day and even his rival Ice's
ass, so ultimately he becomes the top pilot after all.
(2022) it seems almost sacriligeous to not like Top Gun, given the
film's longevity, only cemented by the successs of its sequel Top Gun
Maverick some 36 years later, and by the assumption that nostalgia
overrules inherent quality. And I will admit, Top Gun has its fair
share of inherent qualities, it's very well made, all the action shots are
exciting, and every image seems to be well-composed - in fact it looks
like exactly what it was meant to be, a feature length recruitment clip
for the Navy. And director Tony Scott, who had a background in
advertising, sure was the right man for this. The problem with the film
though is its complete lack of originality, it's just full of clichés,
down to bits of dialogue, is completely predictable, and is just a
celebration for militaristic heroism over all - wartime propaganda movies
actually rarely were as blunt as Top Gun. On top of this, the
film's machoism that at times borders the homoerotic (something it of
course shared with many 1980s action movies) dates the film pretty badly.
And unfortunately most of the performances of the leads are about as flat
as the film's story - but that said, it's hard to give characters depth
that aren't supposed to have any. Now sure, the film's still somewhat of a
fun trip back to the 1980s - just by no means a "good" film in
anything transcending pure craftmanship.