Movie Review: Top Gun (1986)

Paramount Pictures.

Tony Scott’s Top Gun (B) is style over substance, but ah, what great style! This iconic ’80s drama action hybrid features a charismatic Tom Cruise as a talented Navy aviator whose brashness gets him into trouble with the ladies, including love interest Kelly McGillis, and puts him at odds with friends (Anthony Edwards) and rivals (Val Kilmer) alike. The “Danger Zone” of one of its pop songs refers to the tempestuousness of the romance, the braggadocio of the fly-boys and the dread of a real wartime menace. Anyone who was ever hot for teacher, wanted a kept moment to take their breath away or simply sought some effective action stunts flocked to this favorite of its heyday. The story is lots of montage and flashy imagery but packs a patriotic punch. You either like the lovey-dovey stuff or the sky-high high-jinks; the Venn diagram of people who find all of this works equally for them may be minimal. But see it for the stars in the making, the cocky catchphrases and a Harold Faltermeyer score that basically says “you’re kicking ass in America during the ’80s.”

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