So, back in the 1980s, Tom Cruise was in a movie about Navy fighter pilots who spent all their days playing volleyball and their nights chasing loose women. And when they weren’t doing that, they were pretty much fucking up in fighter jets, which led to Anthony what’s-his-name from e.r. getting killed, but then it’s all okay because Tom Cruise beats all the Russians (without shooting them, what the fuck!), while Tim Robbins sits in the backseat of his F-14 screaming “WTF!”
Anyway, so that was 1986. It’s now 2010. That’s twenty-four years later, and apparently someone wants to make a sequel.
The follow-up flick is being developed by Paramount Pictures and, according to New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, the movie mavens have already made offers to both producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Tony Scott, who were on board for the first film.
A rep for Cruise said tells E! News that it will be a while before the actor makes any kind of decision about whether or not he’ll appear in the new high-flying flick. If he does return to the tarmac, however, Cruise’s role will be much smaller than it was in the previous film.
See, in the original film — and it’s been a few years since I’ve seen it — Tom Cruise is a fighter jock on an aircraft carrier (hint: if there’s an aircraft carrier in a movie, and the movie is being made by Paramount, what are the odds the carrier will be named the Enterprise? Answer: pretty damn good*) selected to go to Top Gun, an aviation combat school run by the Navy, despite the fact that his commanding officer thinks he’s “dangerous” and “a real fuck up.” I’m pretty sure if this movie was realistic, being “a real fuck up” would get one cashiered out of a fighter’s pilot seat, while being “dangerous” seems to be the whole point of the job. Who wants a cautious Drive Mrs. Daisy fighter pilot? “No, no, I insist, you make the first bombing run. No, really. It’s okay. I can wait.”
At Top Gun, Cruise (whose character’s call sign is “Maverick”, supposedly to constantly remind us that his character is “dangerous” and “a real fuck up”, Tim Robbin’s call sign is “Merlin”, apparently informing the audience that the guy used to be King Arthur’s wingman) is subjected to heckling from Val Kilmer for apparently embarrassing the hell out of Kilmer’s buddy who actually fucked up really really really badly at the start of the film, and whose life Cruise saved. Lesson here: save someone’s life, and their best friend will hate you for it. So why bother saving their life? Let ’em fall into the ocean already.
Anyway, so Tom Cruise hunts some tail, gets mentored by this senior pilot (Tom Skerritt, who I will always think of as cantankerous old Sheriff Jimmy whatever from the wonderful Picket Fences), kills his bestest buddy Dr. Mark Green while show boating in the air, then goes off and out flies some Russians.
A buddy once explained all Tom Cruise movies like this: “His character is really good at whatever the movie is about. There’s a love interest. But then something happens and he loses all confidence. BUT! Then he’s tested and finds the inner strength to be the best as whatever the movie is about again. And then he reconciles with the love interest, and all is well and fine with the world.” I haven’t seen many of Cruise’s later films (the last one may have been Minority Report? Although admittedly Knight and Day is on my Netflix queue), but that seems about right.
Anyway, so here’s my prediction for Top Gun 2: The Need For More Speed. First, if they don’t have Harold Faltermeyer back to do the score, the whole movie is going to suck. Second, how can you do Top Gun without F-14s? It just seems wrong. Third, Tom Cruise flies no planes. As a Naval aviator in his late forties to early fifties, Cruise’s character is either commanding an aircraft carrier (they could do like, Top Gun 2 about boats instead of planes — hey, don’t laugh: Speed 2, bitches), or, and this is my guess, he’s taken over the Tom Skerritt role at Pensacola, FL.
Maybe Tom Skerritt can have a cameo as his character, retired, giving advice to Cruise’s character, when Cruise just doesn’t feel he has the inner strength to to be the best at teaching all these kids to be the best flight combat aviators in the US Navy. And then he’ll teach them and they’ll shoot someone down, which brings up another point: the whole point of the movie Top Gun was that in aerial dogfights, the Top Gun school gave US pilots an edge on their opponents. But in an era where there’s no nation that can stand up to the US militarily as the Soviet Union did in 1986, how exactly is this movie going to be all Top Gun-ny?
Well, either North Korea, or this’ll be a Behind Enemy Lines rehash (with Tom Cruise)**.
Oh, and I was wrong – Tropic Thunder. Amazing.
*Because, see, Paramount also produces this show and movie series called Star Trek which features the adventures of the crew of the Enterprise. The space ship Enterprise, not the aircraft carrier Enterprise, though.
**Done by 20th Century Fox: the carrier is the Carl Vinson.