Friday, July 22, 2022

Top Gun rulez

 It sounded like everybody was being a bit ironic when the raves about the new Top Gun film first came in, but it turns out they weren't joking. While Top Gun is every bit as ideologically unsound as a fucking Top Gun film always will be, because it's an absolute machine of a movie, doing what it promises. It tells you up front what kind of white-knuckle ride you're for, and then it fucking delivers on it.

Just from a block-busting craft viewpoint, it's exceptional. All the stunts are breathtaking, and seeing the g-force etching new lines into Cruise's increasingly craggy face is an absolute joy. 

The plot hums - settings up what the mission will be very early on, so by the time you get to the climax, you know exactly what they have to do (even if you don't get why they have to do the spinny over thing when they come up over the lip of the mountain). Everything else is the glue that holds it together - Cruise almost playing his own age for once, the jerk who comes through in the end, the kid with the chip on his shoulder because his boss killed his Dad - it's all perfunctory, but drives that story forward faster than any jet fighter can dream of.

And two-thirds of the way through, there's a bit where Maverick is trapped by bureaucracy, even though he knows it's gonna get people he cares about killed, and he doesn't know what to do, so he just goes out there and does what he does best - and that's be the best goddamn pilot in the goddamn world, and that's a plot device that's as old as Gilgamesh, but it still fucking rocks, man.

And then when that crucial bombing run is made, there's a whole other level of supersonic action to come, with ludicrous twists and turns that put Maverick even more behind the eight-ball. Taking ludicrously high stakes and raising them even higher. It feels like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where you get the amazing fight scene at the airport runway, which is just a thrill that should be enough for anyone, and then they go right into the most balls-out truck chase in cinema, and when that's done, there's still exploding Nazis to come. Escalation beyond expectation - it always works.

Of course it's ideologically problematic, celebrating the repugnantly huge military-industrial complex, while feeding the fantasy that exceptional Men Who Do The Right Thing Every Time will save us all.  

But to still see films with this level of sheer craft is such a rarity in days of CGI slush, and it's such a thrill ride, which always had a place in a healthy cinematic diet. Those left worried about the complexities of life will be left in the slipstream, while the rest of us are going sky high with this kind of glorious nonsense.

1 comment:

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