It's Tom Cruise in a Simpson/Bruckheimer production of a Tony Scott film. You know what to expect.So you shouldn't be disappointed. Cruise plays "Maverick," a Navy fighter pilot with a sort of chip on his shoulder and a disdain for authority and regulations. He's so badass, he buzzes the tower. Twice. Maverick and his partner Goose (Anthony Edwards, post-Revenge Of The Nerds but pre-ER) travel to "Top Gun," where pilots train to be the best of the best. There's rivalry between Maverick and another pilot, Iceman (Val Kilmer). Maverick sings "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and falls in love with Kelly McGillis. The boys play volleyball. Goose dies, Maverick gets shaken, Maverick rights himself and saves the free world, all to a rock soundtrack.
Here's the thing. McGillis and Cruise don't really have chemistry. Oh sure, they've got the prerequisite love scene with Tony Scott's trademark hazy shots and Berlin blaring on the soundtrack, but it's not quite there, like the smoldering chemistry of say, Clooney and Lopez in 1998's Out Of Sight. The real excitement comes in the sequences shot in the air.
The dogfights and the training exercises are expertly shot and easy to follow. You know exactly what's going on and who's chasing whom. It's exciting and tense, and that's why I'll sit through Top Gun again: for the flying.
On the ground, however...ech. There's a nice rapport between Cruise and Edwards. That's about it. Kilmer doesn't do much more than glare, and most of the interplay between McGillis and Cruise is just looks, like they're trying to figure each other out. Cruise has the cocky prettyboy thing down, but the rest of the cast can't really do the same. I do like the small roles filled by James Tolkan (as a hardass commanding officer) and Michael Ironside (as a hardass instructor). They always take the scruffy, roughneck types (the hardasses, not coincidentally), and here the two are played to perfection.
That's not to say it's a bad movie. Quite the contrary; you just have to like this type of movie. It's your typical Simpson/Bruckheimer flick, so it's got the action and feel you've come to expect, plus the usual wacky look of Tony Scott, complete with weird color schemes and enough haze to choke a small town.Cruise fans dig it, and most guys think it's all about homosexuality. Whatever. It's a movie. No subtext.