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USA 1986
Directed by
Tony Scott
110 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1 stars

Top Gun

This huge box office hit might not have a lot of era-typical big hair and shoulder pads (Kelly McGillis aside) but it is an wall-to-wall exercise in brainlessly romanticised heroics and juvenile fantasy wall-papered with a ultra-kitsch Giorgio Moroder score, the main song, “Take My Breath Away”, written by Moroder and Tom Whitlock, picking up a completely-undeserved Oscar for Best Song.  Only in the 1980s could anything so bad have been considered so good.

Tom Cruise plays a hotshot fighter pilot, code name Maverick, who is selected for the Navy's elite flying school, known as "Top Gun".  Maverick has issues, his heroic fighter pilot father having disappeared during the Vietnam warm (his granddaddy was assuredly John Wayne), he’s a hothead who’s up against cool dude, Iceman (Val Kilmer) and he’s got eyes for one of the instructors who happens to be a gorgeous blonde (McGillis, looking barely distinguishable from another 80s siren, Theresa Russell).

Hackneyed beyond belief in terms of both scripting and directing, abysmally acted and ridiculous in its soft-core, homo-erotic machismo, it is a matter for debate whether the admittedly impressively photographed dog-fight sequences give the film some level of appeal or, because they are so empty of meaning (it is never explained who Maverick is blasting to kingdom come in “the real show” that comes at the end of the movie), only add another level of pain.




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