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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Top Gun: Maverick – Tom Cruise soars high in long-awaited sequel that defies low expectations

Top Gun: Maverick - Tom Cruise soars high in long-awaited sequel that defies low expectations

It was, let us not forget, a breathtakingly stupid movie. Charming as a parlor poodle, clad in power pop, Tony Scott’s Top Gun was the highest-grossing film of 1986, a year not known for its good taste or sobriety.

More of a pop artifact than an actual film, it mixed hugely impressive flight sequences with a remedial screenplay, wild overacting.

While Kelly McGillis’ bleach-blonde ‘astronomer’ Charlie Blackwood was the direct love interest, Pauline Kell the new Yorker gay undercurrent spying.

Her pen, as always, was dipped in acid, she wrote: “When McGillis is offscreen, the movie is a glitzy gay ad: Pilots strut around the locker room, towels hang precariously by their waists. It is as if masculinity has been redefined by how a young man looks with half his clothes on, and as if being a warrior self-defense is everything.”

A bad movie then, but everything gets remade these days, and if 36 years in showbiz is a long time, it’s even longer in the high-performance world of fighter aviation. Back in the day, Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise) was a proud adventurer, the star student at the elite US Navy fighter pilot school Top Gun, a magnet for women, and disaster.

Now he is a monk, but not so pious, living alone, but still in service, and still flying very fast. He’s testing a new prototype Mach 10 stealth fighter, and just as the program is about to close, Pete smashes all existing speed records, before crashing. He survives, and is about to get out of the Navy when an old friend comes to the rescue.

His former rival Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazanski (Val Kilmer) is now a two-star admiral, and at his behest Maverick resigns from his old flight school, the home of Top Gun, in North Island, San Diego.

“I can’t teach!” Pete erupts in protest, and his new commanding officer, Vice Admiral Beau ‘Cyclone’ Simpson (Jon Hamm) is very opinionated. He considers Maverick to be a loose canon, and wants to get rid of him, but there is work to be done.

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An unspecified enemy (I’m guessing the Iranians) has begun enriching weapons-grade uranium at an underground site surrounded by high and heavily fortified mountains. The only way to get it out is to fly dumbsters-style low, avoiding the bank’s missiles and enemy fighters.

It seems like a tailor-made job for Maverick, and he hopes to fly himself. Instead, he must stay grounded, and instruct a group of cocky star Top Gun graduates in subtle detail about what smells like a suicide mission. And there’s another problem: One of those young pilots is Lieutenant Bradley ‘Rooster’ Bradshaw (Miles Teller), Maverick’s best friend and son of wingman ‘Goose’ Bradshaw, who was killed during a training exercise.

Maverick has always blamed himself for Goose’s death, and it seems his son does. As the group prepares for their seemingly impossible mission, tensions mount.

Having entered the cinema with low expectations, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised Top Gun: Maverick, It’s not as bland as the original film, not half so gung-ho and linguist.

Everyone still has stupid identifying nicknames, but when a pilot like Lieutenant ‘Hangman’ Ceresin (Glenn Powell) says things like “I’m good – I’m really good”, their claim is strangely hollow. , as if they’re aware of their own essential ridiculousness.

The flight scenes are spectacular, as you’d expect, and the story is straightforward and simple: That’s a good thing, allowing the audience to engage completely with all of this nonsense without exhausting themselves.

Maverick, of course, must have a girlfriend. There is no sign of now 64-year-old Kelly McGillis, and no mention of her character. Instead, the maverick flirts respectfully with Penny Benjamin (Jennifer Connolly), a charming and convenient single bar owner.

In fact, only Val Kilmer is left from the original cast, sharing a brief scene with Cruise that really manages to touch, a poignant reflection on the passage of time.

Without Tom Cruise’s words, this film would not have been made. It must be so, as from start to finish he dominates this amiably silly, triumphantly nostalgic action romp, filling a vast canvas with his formidable star power. And whatever you think about him, Tom is a movie star, probably the only person you can honestly call that.

top gun maverick Releasing in cinemas on 25 May.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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