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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.69%
Average: 14.17%
Pretty Bad: 18.9%
Total Crap: 12.6%

4 reviews, 103 user ratings

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Top Gun
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Jack Sommersby

"Far From 'Top' Entertianment"
2 stars

Released in the summer of 1986, it managed to out-gross its chief competition, Sylvester Stallone's "Cobra," at the box office. But it's still not anything worth getting out of bed for.

Top Gun isn't a bad movie, and a decent amount of it is reasonably entertaining, but its high-school-level dramatics and unexciting action sequences pretty much squander what little goodwill we work up toward it. A box-office smash and launch pad for Tom Cruise's now-superstardom, its cinema-cultural significance can't be ignored, and I know a good many will feel a critic quibbling over its shortcomings should "lighten up." Well, this critic will gladly aver it's definitely preferable to the asinine Iron Eagle that came out earlier in the year, and Cruise is more in his element here than in Ridley Scott's disappointing fantasy extravaganza Legend from just a few months earlier. Yet there's something insultingly synthetic about it all, as if it had been churned out by a mainstream-audience-pleasing machine without the slightest regard for that dastardly thing called nuance -- it's the ultimate in surface-level-only plasticity devoid of any semblances of rough corners, sleek and metallic like the fighter jets constantly flying in and out of the widescreen frame. It's certainly livelier than director Tony Scott's last effort, the enervating, ultra-chic Manhattan-set vampire tale The Hunger, yet the screenwriting team of Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr. have harnessed any possibility of Scott and his cast breaking through the turgid by-the-numbers story template. Cruise's Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, an ace Navy aviator whose penchant for risk-taking maneuvers in the cockpit irks his commanding officers, has to mature and learn to work as part of a team when he and his radar-intercept-officer Nick "Goose" Bradshaw (Anthony Edwards) are sent to the exclusive Top Gun school near San Diego, California, where they'll be competing with the world's finest. Brazenly egotistical, Maverick doesn't take long in locking horns with one of the top students, Tom "Iceman" Kasansky (Val Kilmer), who considers Maverick's methods dangerous. And it's not long before he starts romancing the school's astrophysics instructor Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), who initially makes clear she doesn't date students but, of course, eventually relents to the persistent Maverick's incorrigible charm. Finally, Maverick has to come to terms with his famous fighter-pilot father's mysterious death during the Vietnam War, which he's never been given the official lowdown on.

Schematically structured with two-dimensional characterizations and forgettable dialogue, Top Gun isn't going to set any new standards for Writers Guild members. Sometimes you can foretell a line before it comes out of an actor's mouth, and when Goose's wife and young son make their screen entrance at the forty-five minute mark, you can easily spot what's going to come of it. (It were as if Cash and Epps, Jr., neither of whom had written a screenplay before, were checking off rudimentary elements off a master list.) Perhaps the action in the air could've offset the contextual negatives, and though a great deal of planning obviously went into them, and Scott keeps the spatial logistics of where one jet is in relation to another fairly clear, they just don't elicit much in the way of excitement. The juxtaposing of these thirty-million-dollar machines and radar screens and the pilots' upper bodies is technically well-done, but the John Badham-directed helicopter-action picture Blue Thunder boasted a lot more imagination and finesse, and even Clint Eastwood's so-so Firefox managed to do this kind of thing better. Scott isn't particularly creative, and because he's dedicated all of his efforts into producing something seamless he hasn't allowed for much in the way of spontaneity to come through -- it's like being led on a hurried guided tour with the guide refusing to give you the aesthetic distance to get your own reading on what you're seeing. So it's not surprising that the Maverick/Charlie romance, which has all the carnality and passion of a rusty radiator, doesn't come off any better. Not only does their big sex scene come to absolutely nothing (the gaudy blue lighting bathing their PG-rated bed sheets-covered bodies anesthetizes any semblances of passion), but Cruise and McGillis have been ill-advisedly paired. McGillis, who played Harrison Ford's Amish love interest in Witness, is overly calculated and inexpressive (she's as close to a moving mannequin as you can get), and Cruise, whose male aggressiveness hasn't a speck of freshness (in just a few scenes Kilmer makes a much more forceful impression), keeps trying to rely on a galvanizing magnetism he just doesn't have. Top Gun is functional, never anything more. Superfluous to a fault, you can drive yourself crazy trying to see something genuine past its veneer of crass commercialism.

For fans of the movie, the 2-disc DVD package offers up an immaculate picture, impressive audio, and a slew of special feaures.

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originally posted: 03/20/13 13:39:03
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell entertaing macho bullshit 4 stars
4/26/16 Ken Chef ADogg is a fucking moron and can go fuck himself! This film is not bad at all. 4 stars
4/02/13 Caleb If I didn't have a man-crush on Cruise, I could hate this. 3 stars
4/10/10 Jeff Wilder Cheesy as hell. Great cinematography. 3 stars
3/18/10 Omar Anyone who hates this film so much is a jackass. 5 stars
10/18/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Early Cruise classic,topped only by his other" masterpiece" cocktail. 1 stars
7/02/09 cindy Yeehaw, Cruise in uniform ! SEXY SEXY! Love this film. Maverick can park his motorcycle i 5 stars
2/05/09 Faraz J Exhiliarating, exciting and fun. Only a story is missing. MUST WATCH!!!!!! 5 stars
6/12/07 al smith amazing aerial photography still takes my breath away 4 stars
3/07/07 David Pollastrini never saw what the big deal was in this film 3 stars
2/27/07 Asian God 94 My alltime favourite film! People who don't agree are bastards who touch kids.20 out of 10 5 stars
1/29/07 Matt Story is cliched rubbish, but the aerial shots are...WOW! Even after 21 years. 3 stars
1/29/07 Boo I loved it, a classic film. i rate it a 9 5 stars
12/11/06 Bart Simpson Gag -- typical Reagan-era republico-christo-patrio-fascism. Total crap. 1 stars
11/09/06 Sugarfoot Superduper gay. Don't believe me, how do you explain "He's on my tail comin hard!" I 3 stars
7/18/06 David Cohen Being a pilot gets you lots of sex, so join the air force 1 stars
6/12/06 Vince Back in the 80s this was the shit... The fight scenes are still cool. 5 stars
4/18/06 madson I loved this movie i do not know what the other people are talking about 5 stars
4/07/06 matt one of the most overrated films ever 2 stars
2/10/06 JM Synth I own the soundtrack; cheesy but great, I love it! The film? Ugghhh! 2 stars
1/04/06 cody cool air fighter action with tom cruise in one of his best perf., this movie is good 4 stars
8/26/05 ES Quick Maverck! Fire the same missile at the same jet 6 times in a row! 3 stars
8/23/05 Nhi hey, im 15, watched it for the 1st time this yr (05), and i loved it!!! tears and laughter! 5 stars
6/20/05 darick Worth a look just for the flying scenes (and possibly Cruise) but not McGillis 4 stars
6/08/05 Rock-Steady 9000 shower scenes? gayness 1 stars
5/04/05 eddie fan #1 I would rather eat two week old cheese and shit my guts out than watch this 1 stars
2/13/05 Jeff Anderson Anthony Edwards & John Stockwell are great, THE REST SUCKS! 2 stars
1/17/05 Dark Lord "Queer As Folk" in F-15 Eagles. 2 stars
1/10/05 keithers.. Classic Cruse 4 stars
11/19/04 blah cool cruise cruising with cool babe with cool jets and cool direction Cool! 4 stars
11/10/04 kim it is absoulutely brilliant if you havent seen it then you should! 5 stars
10/01/04 Eric Fremen Top Gun is the greatest movie ever, hands down. 5 stars
8/14/04 Alien assassin All flash and no substance - like the Reagan era itself !!! 3 stars
8/06/04 McGraw DOES NOT stand test of time. Bloated, corny, and irritating. 2 stars
8/02/04 Anthony G wow tom cruise is so "cool", I wish I could be as "cool" as "cool" tom cruise 2 stars
7/19/04 Gray good film despite homo overtones in parts 4 stars
4/25/04 Carla it was fun to watch. 5 stars
3/20/04 john strong visuals ina aerial scenes but it's still only a 2 hour music video/commercial 2 stars
3/06/04 Jaco Visser Nice story. Nice actors and actresses. Nice about everything. 4 stars
2/25/04 Dr.Lecter Incredibly boring for a movie that wears its macho stupidity on its sleeve 1 stars
1/17/04 J Is this a chick flick? 3 stars
1/08/04 Jessica I love this movie.... it's a classic! 5 stars
12/16/03 Ronit Great - Super - best of the best 5 stars
11/29/03 john a 2 hour music video - it's somewhere between fun and ridiculous 3 stars
10/30/03 Moparman Great flick.. 5 stars
8/16/03 Alex I Feel the Need, the Need to see it Again!! 5 stars
6/20/03 Vincent van Bennekum story isn't good, but the actors en action are very well 4 stars
5/30/03 Gav gggggrrrrreeeeeaaaaattttt 5 stars
3/28/03 Andrew Gates Tower this is Ghostrider requesting flyby. Negitive Ghostrider the pattern is full. 5 stars
1/28/03 Pinkline Jones Shooting blanks again - refunds for all 1 stars
1/08/03 Lin Rainey Flying scenes great -- rest of the film is mediocre to downright bad. 2 stars
11/07/02 Tim Crap 1 stars
11/04/02 Del Your ego is writing checks your body can't cash! 4 stars
10/18/02 Jay I Can't Swim is a little prick!!!! Tom Cruise at his prime!!!! 5 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Overblown film made to give navy recruits a hard on 2 stars
9/22/02 Kristen Loftus I loved this movie. Every part of it was great. I didnt find anything bad about it. 5 stars
7/30/02 wintermute Cougar was number 1 - You were number 2 - Cougar's Gone Now 5 stars
7/27/02 I Can't Swim Movie is cliche-ridden nonsense; figures dickheads below love it so much 1 stars
5/10/02 raj a magical tommy movie.his 2nd best other than JERRY MAGUIRE .u girls enjoy?? 5 stars
4/05/02 Justin My favorite Tom Cruise film without a doubt! 5 stars
3/27/02 R.W. Welch Enjoyable, if somewhat hokey, Tom Cruise vehicle, nicely directed. 4 stars
3/12/02 KMG I've walked into farts that were better than this 2 stars
2/09/02 Angela Potter I loved it! Tom Cruise is so hot! I enjoyed the great areial footage and flight sequences. 5 stars
1/10/02 Andrew Carden Great Premise Used In A Bad Way, Tangling Between Too Many Subplots. 2 stars
12/07/01 nicky mountney my best film ever, and thats no lye... 5 stars
10/09/01 jay a briliant film 5 stars
9/09/01 kris this is the best movie i have ever seen 5 stars
9/05/01 Crunchy Frog Best example of homo-eroticism since the deleted bathing scene from Spartacus! 3 stars
8/19/01 Edwin Menguin When Dr.Green died, I wanted to kill my dog, then fuck it in the ass 1 stars
8/09/01 E-Funk Minus homosexual overtones...Fun action movie from the 80's. 4 stars
5/21/01 Monster W. Kung It was a big success. However it was crap. Not disgusting crap, just crap. 2 stars
2/26/01 Mister Char over rated 2 stars
2/16/01 James Sorry Cruise fans, Iron Eagle is the definitive flyoy film. 2 stars
2/04/01 Invader The movie is hollywood at its best, great action scenes loads of sex appeal 4 stars
12/14/00 Mic script doesn't know the meaning of "two-dimensional characters", nor do the actors 2 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla well, it was good, still nice cinematography for those cool fight scenes 5 stars
11/10/00 bruno cruise is the man!!! 5 stars
10/14/00 Lindsay Nixon Awesome 5 stars
9/23/00 Maverick Tom Cruise flies not only F-14 but blond Kelly too 5 stars
8/29/00 Chris Drake Great flying, pointless 'romance'. Titanicesque with wings 2 stars
6/26/00 Jed Ignore ADogg's ignorant review on this classic. 5 stars
5/19/00 Ben Hughes COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
5/08/00 Matt Conway Top Gun is a brilliant film. Hot chick. Cool fight scenes. Amusing story. A top pizza flick 5 stars
5/02/00 Constanza Laureda It's a great movie! 5 stars
4/22/00 yankee decent, the flights are basass, the death is sad, the father thing is annoying,iceman rocks 3 stars
3/07/00 john one of the best movies of all time 5 stars
3/02/00 Kaptn' Bizzm Best movie ever 5 stars
2/11/00 max gardner damn good movie 5 stars
1/10/00 Will there's homoeroticism in this? boy am I naive. 4 stars
12/10/99 Sierra It is a classic! 5 stars
12/02/99 Tim Gerchmez Underrated. The Cinematography is magical. 5 stars
10/27/99 Mary-Catherine Mack The best movie ever made!! 5 stars
9/15/99 Jack Wideman Great Film!! One of my all-time favorites. I give it an 8. 5 stars
7/07/99 Ben Leostein Rating: ** (out of ****) Category: "Above Average" 4 stars
5/09/99 Beachlovr9 Excellent movie! And that was Val Kilmer? geez... what happened to him? 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson Testosterone flick, c'mon it is a little homoerotic 4 stars
2/20/99 Piz Pure guy, buddy-macho flick. Works because of its stars and predictability. 4 stars
11/28/98 Mr.Pink V. Kilmer can ride my tail anytime!! As long as i don't have to see the movie anymore. 2 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob A picture perfect, 80's staple of hetero/homo eroticism, veiled as Reaganism! 4 stars
10/10/98 {{{OZ}}} The gayest movie ever, but I copped my first feel watching it, so it rules. 5 stars
9/19/98 Badass "You can be my wingman anytime" 3 stars
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  16-May-1986 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Dec-2004



Directed by
  Tony Scott

Written by
  Jim Cash
  Jack Epps Jr.

  Tom Cruise
  Kelly McGillis
  Val Kilmer
  Anthony Edwards
  Tom Skerritt
  Michael Ironside
  Meg Ryan

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