Tag Archives: Oblivion

Top Gun: Maverick

27 May

‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Cruise, back in pilot’s seat, hits the same targets with wisdom of experience

By Tom Meek Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Hard to believe it’s been 35 years since Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer tangled in the Danger Zone. The original “Top Gun” (1986) was branded by ’80s flair (the hair), music (Kenny Loggins and Berlin’s hauntingly excellent “Take My Breath Away”) and the era’s go-for-broke excess (cocaine and unregulated Wall Street), something that got amped up for effect by producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott; amazingly, what’s on screen in the long-cooking sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick” eerily channels the spirit and vibe of that earlier film while sliding seamlessly into the now. It’s a neat parlor trick pulled off by director Joseph Kosinski, who worked with Cruise on the sci-fi thriller “Oblivion” (2013), and Bruckheimer (he’s back; Scott and Simpson died during the in-between years). The ace in the hole, as it was then, is Cruise. Do the math: Cruise was 25ish when he made the first one and near 60 here. If you look at him in both you’d be hard pressed to think that 10, let alone 20 or, god forbid, 35 years have passed. Sure, there are some crows feet, but the man is a movie star who maintains his asset like Tom Brady does – the main difference being that Cruise has to look good doing it, and you could argue that doing his own stunts at his age is as dangerous as avoiding oncoming linemen when you’re 15 years younger.

If you put the two “Top Gun” movies on the tarmac together, the newer one would leave the other in its vapor trail with relative ease. The 1986 chapter was steeped in macho cliches, the tang of pre-#MeToo sexism and thin characters pumped up to be more than they were. “Maverick” is more about soul finding than chest beating; while there’s some of the latter, it’s reserved mostly for the new young guns.

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