(in a Frank Zappa-style sarcastic voice) Oh, the United States of America, the greatest country on earth! The Air Force of its army is so powerful that there has to be a competition among itself to find out who’s the best pilot in the world. So each year, the top 1% of all fighter pilots come to FighterTown, USA to get into intense dogfights against one another. Of course, you don’t fire: you just fly around your opponent and lock your target and that’s it, you won. Question: how do you make a movie out of that? That’s what producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson had to deal with. Someone should have told them they needed a story, because what they produced as one of the mot superficial movies ever made. There is some excuse of a story, but…
Let me tell you. US pilots are facing the big bad voodoo Soviet army over the Indian ocean. Boy Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Goose (Anthony Edwards) are among the brave American pilots. During an attack, the dynamic duo fly their plane upside down, take a Polaroid of an enemy plane and give the finger to its damn dirty Commie pilot. Dude, that’s a cool if careless stunt and the officers, impressed, send Maverick and his bitch to… you guessed it, the Top Gun competition down in Fightertown. They will have to go nose to nose with the best pilots there is, like that arrogant son of a gun Iceman (Val Kilmer). They also meet with the usual badass officers and Maverick’s trainer and love interest Charlie (Kelly McGillis). I should point out that Charlie’s a girl, cause you could easily assume that Maverick’s a poof. When you dress all in leather, ride a motorcycle and spend all your time with army studs, it’s suspicious. (Quentin Tarantino indeed wrote and performed a funny monologue about the gay factor in “Top Gun” for his cameo appearance in the little seen indie “Sleep With Me”.)
As you can see, there is some plot, but you gotta admit that it’s anemic and unoriginal. It’s just an excuse to show planes twirling in the sky. All the rest is extremely cheesy, especially the “love story”. The only thing explaining why Charlie and Maverick get hunched is that the cheesy ’80s tune Take My Breath Away scores all their scenes together. Hey, that’s what I call character development and psychological insight… not! They just meet, he acts macho, she does her cocktease number, they shag and that’s it. How romantic! “Top Gun” ain’t a movie, it’s just an overlong music video, a series of fast-paced shots playing over power pop crap songs. Director Tony Scott makes technically efficient and dynamic movies, but he has absolutely no style or real filmmaking skills. At least some of his films are well written, like the Tarantino-penned “True Romance”, but “Top Gun” is so underwritten that it makes beer commercials look like Shakespeare! At least if it was colorful and exciting like a “Predator” or “Rocky IV”, you’d forgive it for barely having a story. But “Top Gun” is flat and repetitive. Maybe it’s just me, but I find planes boring. The dogfight sequences are fast and well shot, but the heroes don’t have any real motivation and they all look and act the same. Who cares who wins? It’s pointless.
The only thing that got me through the movie was the hilariously dumb and macho rivalry between Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise. Kilmer is kinda funny as the arrogant Iceman, and Cruise is entertainingly ridiculous as the all teeth Maverick, with his oh so cool sunglasses, his army blazer and his careless attitude. Too bad the movie is too busy showing flying metal to focus on these army fairies playing hard to get, like in the incredibly homoerotic volleyball game. Basically, my take is that if you list “Top Gun” as your favorite movie, you’re probably not very bright, out of touch with your feelings and subconsciously gay… Not that there’s anything wrong with that!