It’s hard to believe that it was 25 years ago this month that ‘Top Gun’ first landed in theaters. Before his flight into lunacy under the Church of Scientology, Tom Cruise’s rise as a respectable actor really gained steam by his leading role as ‘Maverick’ in the film.
‘Top Gun’ follows Maverick, a young hot-shot Navy pilot through the top Aviator school in the country. He flies with reckless abandon, breaking all rules of the norm. Co-starring as his backseat pilot ‘Goose,’ is Anthony Edwards, in his defining role before playing a doctor on televisions ‘E.R.’ Through the years I’ve heard several references to the character for gems of dialogue but none of the quotes struck me as memorable. It is fun though to see Edwards before he becomes a victim of premature balding.
The cockiness of Maverick to be the top student is matched by ‘Iceman’ (Val Kilmer) who flies without any fear. An arrogant smirk fills his face throughout the film in a role Kilmer was born to play, matter of fact I can’t think of anything else he has been in except for his one time only turn as Batman, which flopped.
Fortunately for the ladies, many of the confrontations between Maverick and Iceman occur in the shower room where only their bottom halves are covered by a towel. And an intense four man volleyball match between them set to ‘Playing With the Boys’ by Kenny Loggins makes the “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” policy of the Navy pertinent.
Amidst all the male testosterone the female race is strongly represented by Kelly McGillis as ‘Charlie.’ While at first she appears to be just a normal beautiful woman in an off base bar Maverick is surprised to discover the next day after coming on to her strongly that she’s an instructor for the flight course. Their chemistry soars, perhaps in part to the whole student-teacher relationship and the presumption they both know their away around a cockpit. A strong tension builds of will they or won’t they…of course, they do.
Ahead of its time in special effects, the in-flight scenes take you right into the action, dodging missiles as they are launched. The rip roaring sounds are thunderous, especially with the volume turned up high.
Another strongpoint in the film is the soundtrack, some may call it outdated, but I’m a fan of 80’s music and lyrics that can be understood. Songs such as ’Danger Zone’ and ’Take My Breath Away’ blend perfectly into the action.
Also appearing briefly is Meg Ryan as the wife of Goose and look closely for Tim Robbins as one of the pilots.
Though an action film, ’Top Gun,’ also contains a lot of heart and emotion. A tragedy in the air, makes Goose a…dead duck and forces Maverick to try and continue on without his best friend.
Take a trip down memory lane or enjoy ’Top Gun’ for the first time in celebration of its 25th year.