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Laramie Movie Scope:
Top Gun: Maverick

A quality clone of the first Top Gun

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 4, 2022 – Having recently watched the original Top Gun movie (1986) prior to watching this sequel, I was impressed with how much the new film is less like a sequel and more like a remake, or clone, of the old film. It is like a scene by scene replay.

The emotional focus of this film is the difficult relationship between Captain Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (played by Tom Cruise, reprising his role) and Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw (Miles Teller of “Allegiant”) who is the son of his late friend, Nick “Goose” Bradshaw, killed in an aircraft piloted by Maverick the first movie. There is an additional fabricated reason for Rooster to hate Maverick which is not very convincing. The other emotional focus of the film is the relationship of Maverick to an old flame, Penelope “Penny” Benjamin (Jennifer Connolly of “Alita: Battle Angel”).

The action sequences in the movie involve a Mach 10 test flight, a risky combat mission, and the extreme training for the mission, led by Maverick, personally selected for this mission by his old friend, Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky (Val Kilmer, reprising his role). As usual, Maverick is constantly in trouble with the brass, but in this story, at least, he has better reasons for disobeying orders.

Those in charge of the mission are quite willing to accept casualties as a cost of success. Maverick's priorities are different. He adopts a strategy that makes it very difficult to get to the target, but offers a better chance for the team to escape after the target is hit. Maverick's superiors favor a strategy that makes it easier to get to the target, but makes escape afterwards far more risky. The brass puts a lot of barriers in Maverick's way, but that doesn't stop him from doing things his way.

Tom Cruise, 59, handles his old 1986 character with practiced ease in this film, playing the reluctant hero who holds the high moral ground, a leader who inspires followers. Jennifer Connolly is also at ease in her role as a self-confident bar owner. She seems effortless in her portrayal of Maverick's old flame, stringing him along without any hint of emotional manipulation. Both Cruise and Connolly are adept at playing characters who carry torches for each other without any hint of emotional dishonesty.

The story goes on longer than it should with an unbelievable extra action sequence, but I can't really complain about some extra action in this action movie. The aerial action sequences are very impressive, as they were in the original movie. I saw this in a theater with a Dolby Atmos sound system (which includes overhead speakers that should be advantageous for aerial battle scenes) which produced some gut-shaking jet rumbles.

Nostalgia for the 1980s is very big these days (why else would anyone want to watch “The Goonies” again) and this movie capitalizes on this fad in a big way. Don't confuse this movie with wretched remakes like “Firestarter” and “Point Break,” because this one is as good as the original. It has the same strengths and the same weaknesses. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2022 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]