Monday, July 4, 2016

Top Gun

     Thirty years ago, Top Gun became the quintessential All-American pro-military film that took the world by storm. It's a balanced blend of action, drama, comedy and romance that takes place during the height of the Cold War when Russian MiG fighters and American Naval pilots fought for control of the skies.

     LT Pete "Maverick" Mitchell has all the skills and abilities to be the best Navel Pilot in the American Navy. However, he has two problems, he's reckless and he lives in the shadow of his father who was also a fighter pilot and was killed in Vietnam for disobeying orders. Yet, he and his co-pilot and best friend Nick "Goose" Bradshaw get a lucky break and are sent to NAS Miramar in California to study at the the elite Navy's Fighter Weapon School or just known as Top Gun. There, Maverick and Goose are with the top 1% of Navy Pilots who considered the best of the best and will train for three months learning how to take down Russian MiGs and compete for the Top Gun trophy that's given at graduation.

     While there, Maverick and Goose come across heavy competition with seasoned pilots, primarily LT Tom "Iceman" Kazanski who believes that Mavericks reckless way of flying is not only a danger to himself but for everyone else. Soon, Maverick finds himself falling in love with the Charlotte "Charlie" Blackwood, a Top Gun instructor who is as brilliant as the men she's teaching and is completely captivated by roguishly charming Pete Mitchell. 

      Everything is going great for Maverick, until a tragic accident and suddenly he finds himself questioning his place at Top Gun and the Navy. Slowly he begins to drift away from his love of flying, his love for Charlie and considers leaving the Navy entirely. Finally he goes to his chief instructor, CDR Mike "Viper" Metcalf (my favorite character) who reveals to Maverick confidential information regarding the real truth of his father's death and also advises him to make the right choices for his future. During graduation, the fighter pilots are unexpectedly called up when there are several MiG sightings. Now, Maverick realizes that it's no longer games and awards, but life and death and unconditional bravery to fight for your country's freedom. 

Actual Top Gun F-14As
      While Top Gun is a Hollywood blockbuster, the film has been revered for it's intense accuracy and historical significance. Top Gun was one of the first films to actually use real fighter pilot jets which was unheard of at the time and also the launched the careers of young actors like Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Today, Top Gun is considered a pop-culture icons film that took all the great elements of the 80's and juxtaposition it with the realities of the Cold War. The product from both was just a great film that honors the bravery of the military and captures the true American spirit. 

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