Tony Scott, Don Simpson, and Jerry Bruckheimer all got together and decided to pool their efforts into one whiz-bang, nerve-wracking spectacle of everything the three men could possibly offer, and the result is Top Gun, the most macho, adrenaline-charged action flick to come out of the 1980s. If you haven’t seen it yet (and I hadn’t until just now), chances are you know enough hearsay to know all about the film regardless, and even watching it for the first time I knew where it was going through every turn of the plot.
The scenes up in the air with the planes flying around and dogfighting each other is the main selling point, and in that vein, the film delivers. Another aspect the film indulges in is its soundtrack; there are so many songs used in this film through so much of the running time that there’s barely any room for anything else; silence is a dirty word to Top Gun. Those two aspects pretty much cover what I liked, or found notable, about the film; as for the rest, it is a rickety structure at best, with lots of flash to disguise the lack of real substance. The whole thing, every bit of it, is designed to wring out each respective emotion and feeling from you as if you were a wet dishrag, without very much care as to the process or formula for what makes a good film. The film couldn’t be any less blunt about it if it wanted to, and it very clearly does not want to, in any way. Tom Cruise is singularly “Tom Cruise”, and indeed this may very well be the performance that started his well-honed on-screen persona. The rest of the actors are somewhat standardized; each filling a particular cookie-cutter role and doing well enough with it, despite it being cookie-cutter.
This was unfortunately a case of tainted perceptions for me; much had been made of this film in the 1001 Blog Club, and I went into the film with that knowledge and a hope that I could find something else, something more worthy of merit. What I ended up with was much of the same that has already been said; the romantic angle was kinda cheesy at times, but it worked for the setting, and the aerial footage is the clear highlight, but everything else just flounders in its attempt to be as masculine and jingoistic as possible. It punches the adrenaline gland all right, but there’s this hollow, empty feeling that underlies the rush, much like eating a bunch of really sweet icing and never really feeling full. I can’t say everyone will be like me; the film is designed to appeal to such a widespread mainstream audience that it automatically entertains just about anyone that watches it, but I went in deliberately looking for a little more, and I came up empty-handed.
Arbitrary Rating: 6/10
R.I.P. Tony Scott.