I’m not entirely sure if I have already seen Top Gun, the 1986 film that starred “America’s last great action star,” Tom Cruise. Thus, it’s going to be quite difficult to compare it with the sequel.
Though much has been said about Top Gun: Maverick, a film released thirty-six years after the original film became one of the most era-defining movies of the 1980s, it’s good to note that it was shot without CGI. So, expect some raw action.
In the aviation drama, Cruise returns to the iconic role that catapulted him to global superstardom.
Prior to watching the action film at the newly-opened Director’s Club at SM North Edsa, I was told that the film is “worthy of the long wait.”
In the original story, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Cruise) redeems himself in the eyes of his fellow naval aviators and saves the day in a decisive mission. After being a brave but inconsistent pilot, Maverick proves that he can be a team player by harnessing his talents to serve the rescue mission.
In the sequel, Maverick is described as one of the Navy’s top aviators with more than thirty years of experience. Sure, he’s still inconsistent (still ranks as captain despite being in the service for more than three decades) and probably a little stubborn as shown in the opening sequence where he flies a new jet, without his superior’s permission, and pushes it beyond its limits (whatever happens to the plane after that is for you to find out).
“As a punishment,” Maverick is ordered to return to Top Gun, the elite pilot-training school, to train a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission (a dangerous initiative of the United States) – to liquidate a uranium-enriching facility. There he meets Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.”
The action centers on the jets and the pilots maneuvering up in the air as they practice to perfectly execute the plan – to reach and hit the target (the uranium facility).
The stunt is repeated a few times (because practice makes perfect) in the film but each sequence gives a different adrenaline rush. It’s amazing that despite no CGIs, the execution of the aerial stunts is similar to what you see in video games, thus losing your breath in the process is just normal.
The drama, on the other hand, lies in the uncertain future that is confronted by the ghosts of Maverick’s past. He is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to execute the mission.
One of the film’s agendas is very clear, to paint a picture where Tom Cruise is still the best in this genre. And that despite his age, he can still give younger actors a run for their money. And that’s quite visible in the film the entire time.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick also stars Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Charles Parnell, Bashir Salahuddin, Monica Barbaro, Jay Ellis, Danny Ramirez, Greg Tarzan Davis, Ed Harris, and Filipino-Canadian Manny Jacinto.
The film is written by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie, based on the characters created by Jim Cash and Jack Epps, Jr.
Top Gun: Maverick unspools in local cinemas today.