Written by Melissa Allen, who you can follow on Twitter at @melissajournal
This 1986 action film is one of the most obviously American, macho and cheesy films to-date – mixed with hot-shot Tom Cruise, it’s a film you wouldn’t want to miss out on seeing.
Maverick (Cruise) loses his best friend and partner ‘Goose’ (Anthony Edwards) in a flight training exercise. Maverick is given a second chance to prove his ability to fly, given the recent death of his partner; his struggle and emotional imbalance proves an issue when it comes to his flight skills – despite being one of the top pilots at the academy.
Members of the flight team shut Maverick out, blaming him for Goose’s death, so Maverick must prove himself not only for his own sanity, but for the sake of the team.
Films from the 80s have a tendency to be cheesy and a little over the top: Top Gun is all these things, but in the most entertaining way possible. With Highway To The Danger Zone on repeat it’s a ode to male masculinity, danger and pure adventure, with stunning shots of the aircrafts flown by the team at the academy, montages of the guys playing beach volleyball shirtless, and powerful shots of the whole team – despite tension between them at times – walking in slow-motion through the airfield to their aircrafts.
The shots, themes and cast within this film makes it one of the best action films of all time, with stereotypical male masculinity being challenged briefly, as well as underlying themes of loss and failure, which are matched by the exciting themes of patriotism, brotherhood and just plain and simple boys being boys.
If this film doesn’t make you want to become a pilot (which was true for many men after the film’s release), then nothing will. This film is as fun, as American, as masculine and as entertaining as it gets.