36 Years after the over the top, as subtle as a brick, original comes the sequel Top Gun; Maverick. Director Joseph Kosinki (Tron Legacy) has kept the same vibe as the original, so there is a metric tonne of cheese, lots of macho posturing, a bit of flag waving and a lot of aerial action – the only thing missing is the palpable homoerotic tension.
A nameless enemy has built an illegal uranium enrichment plant in a hard to reach place, and who is the only one man capable of training Top Gun recruits to undertake this foolhardy, Dambusters like mission? Maverick! So ensues a tussle of egos, navy politics, clashes, the odd emotional flashback and plenty of quips and swooping jet planes all before the final, do or die mission.
It is immensely clichéd and predictable, laughably so at times, but it is good fun. As you would expect from a Tom Cruise flick, the action is nothing but brilliant – you really get a feel for the insane power and speed of the jets, and the excruciating effects they have on the pilots body. Even if the plot leaves you cold, the exciting dog fights more than make up for it.
The korny, happy go lucky vibe will leave a smile on your face as well – how can you not when the film begins with planes taking off to the tune of ‘Danger Zone’. As with the original, music plays a central role – Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ and Foghat‘s ‘Slow Ride’ blasting from a bar’s jukebox, and The Who‘s fist pumping classic ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ during a training montage. Thankfully it spares us the ignominy of Berlin’s ‘Take My Breath Away’.
Amongst the host of slightly forgettable characters the main top gun students are Rooster (Miles Teller), the son of Goose with a frosty relationship with Maverick, and the cocksure Hangman (Glen Powell). The on/off love interest Penny (Jennifer Connelly) and the ball busting boss Cyclone (Jon Hamm) play their obligatory roles well. As well as the return of one time rival and close friend Iceman (Val Kilmer).
Whilst it may be a predictable and cheesy flick with a flimsy plot, it is a perfect popcorn muncher with marvellous action scenes.