Top Gun

Up there with the best of the best
Up there with the best of the best
TOP GUN (15)
D: Tony Scott
Paramount (Don Simpson & Jerry Bruckheimer)
US 1986
110 mins


W: Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.
DP: Jeffrey Kimball
Ed: Billy Weber & Chris Lebenzon
Mus: Harold Faltermeyer

Tom Cruise (Lt. Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell), Kelly McGillis (Charlotte Blackwood), Val Kilmer (Lt. Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky), Anthony Edwards (Goose), Tom Skerritt (Viper)

Top Gun was the biggest box office hit in the summer of 1986 and is still held in fond regard by its vast legion of fans. Still, it's okay to say the film is a bit rubbish, held together by a paper-thin plot about a mercurial jet pilot who think he'll get laid if he starts World War III. 
Tom Cruise plays Maverick (in name and in nature), who is promoted to the top flight school in America where his unorthodox style is scrutinised by a female training expert who ends up falling in love with him. The story flirts with a bit of action involving Russian fighters jets, but this is mostly so the male side of the audience don't realise that this is a love story.
Despite some iconic moments, the film is far too light on any memorable action scenes and is merely a love letter to the US Air Force. It may have some great songs to compliment the on-screen nonsense, but it's not worth sitting through just to listen to the soundtrack. Albeit, despite its many flaws, it rides in the pocket between a utter nonsense and an 80's classic. Completely subjetive.

Tom Cruise in Top Gun
Tom Cruise in Top Gun


D: Joseph Kosinski

Paramount / Skydance / Bruckheimer-Simpson (Jerry Bruckheimer, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie & David Ellison)

US 2022

130 mins


W: Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer & Christopher McQuarrie [based on characters created by Jim Cash & Jack Epps, Jr.]

DP: Claudio Miranda

Ed: Eddie Hamilton

Mus: Harold Faltermeyer, Hans Zimmer & Lady Gaga

Tom Cruise (Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell), Val Kilmer (Adm. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky), Miles Teller (Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw), Jennifer Connelly (Penny Benjamin), Jon Hamm (Vice Adm. Beau “Cyclone” Simpson)

The original Top Gun is an iconic action movie from the 1980’s which I’m not quite as big a fan of as others, but I appreciate its place in the lexicon of pop culture, and would say it’s amongst the most fun movies of the decade. That being said, I never thought it needed a sequel, especially one released when sequels are either cash-ins on the financial success of the original film, or nostalgia-laden rehashes of them.

The credit sequence for Top Gun: Maverick made me feel this veered towards the latter, as it’s practically a shot-for-shot carbon copy of the first film, even utilising the same soundtrack, but it gets the nostalgia hook in early, so it can go its own way for the rest of the story and deliver a sequel that actually betters the 1986 movie.

Tom Cruise reprises his role as naval aviator Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, 35 years older but still cocksure, arrogant and insubordinate to his superiors as he ever was, but when it comes to in-flight heroics, he’s still amongst the best in his field, which makes him the best choice to return to the Top Gun flight academy to train some new recruits for a suicidal, practically impossible mission, which is given added tension when one of the elite pilots in attendance is the son of Maverick’s former co-pilot and best friend, Goose, who died in the first movie.

With a higher action quota than the original movie, this sequel also does a much better job balancing the drama and romance into the high octane thrills.  Joseph Kosinski deserves kudos for his direction, and was probably the best man for the job, especially since his 2017 film Only The Brave (qv) was basically Top Gun with fire fighters and deserved a lot more success and plaudits than it actually received (I personally enjoyed it immensely).

It’s no surprise that the film was a giant success at the cinema box office, becoming the biggest film of the summer and the most exciting film of the year.

I’ll even admit that it made me like the original film that little bit more than I previously did.


Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick