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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 27, 2022



TOM CRUISE is turning 60 in July and at his age, he can be considered as part of the endangered species list that should include other Hollywood golden boys like Brad Pitt (58 years old), Johnny Depp (58) and Keanu Reeves (57). 

His “Top Gun” was a big hit in 1986 and became a cult favorite through the years.


Now, after 36 years, we have the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” and right away, let us say that it out soars and out flies the original. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell was a lieutenant in the first movie and now, he is still just a captain. 

He could have been in higher positions but being the individualistic rebel that he is, it’s his choice to dodge promotions.  

The original established Maverick as a cocky flyboy known for his insubordination. 

The sequel opens with him, still looking young and fit as ever, ignoring orders of Admiral Cain (Ed Harris) and flying a hypersonic jet into a daring flight that goes beyond its limit. 

This beautifully photographed glowing sequence at the film’s start establishes the superior work of cinematographer Claudio Miranda and director Joseph Kosinski (who previously directed Tom Cruise in “Oblivion”) in taking total possession of the IMAX screen where we watched this. 

The aerial action sequences are just spectacularly breathtaking, conveying altitude and speed effectively and using real skies and not green screens.

And you have to give it to them, they also capture Tom Cruise in all his analog beauty that defies aging in the digital world: zooming through the highway without a helmet on a motorcycle, flying with a helmet in his plane, 

playing football shirtless on the beach (the equivalent of the volleyball scene in the first film) to show he is as fit as his much younger co-actors who play his students, in bed with his leading lady, Jennifer Conelly.  

Since this is 2022, the cast is no longer dominated by white males like in 1986. 

It’s now multi-racial with Blacks, Hispanics and Asians, plus women pilots and they’re all meant to be the best of the best. (But they forgot that Tom Cruise is the just the best, period.)

Some vestiges and elements of the original remain. Maverick’s old rival, Val Kilmer as Iceman, is back here, now the commander of the fleet but afflicted with terminal disease. (And Val Kilmer is really battling throat cancer in real life since 2017.) 

He’s the one who asked that Maverick be assigned as the teacher of the new flyboys for a dangerous suicide mission impossible (oops, sorry, can’t resist), which is to attack a uranium plant in a rogue country.

A stroke of genius is incorporating the son of Goose (Anthony Edwards), the best friend of Maverick who died while they were flying together in the original.

The son is Rooster (Miles Teller, best known for “Whiplash”) who naturally resents Maverick. Their emotional conflict and how they sort out their differences provide a sentimental element in the story. 

Make no mistake about it. This movie is so enamoured with its title character and, obviously, with the actor who’s reprising the role. 

The surprise of it all is that it all works. And yes, Tom Cruise IS Tom Cruise and there is no one like him. Who knows, another 36 years from now, he might be making Top Gun 3, with him still dapper at 96 years old! 

Remember, after this, he’s all set to reprise another franchise character, Ethan Hunt, in the 7th movie of “Mission Impossible” which is divided into Part One to be released in 2023 and Part Two in 2024. 

Well, he has better chances with Ethan than with Maverick as it’s been pointed out in the new “Top Gun” movie that flyboys will be a thing of the past as the future is in drones. 

But this movie will no doubt help propel the U.S. summer 2022 blockbuster season to a very good start.

This will be followed by the new Jurassic Park movie, “World Dominion” the new Thor movie, “Love and Thunder”, the Elvis Presley biopic by Baz Luhrman, “Bullet Train” with Brad Pitt and the latest Buzz Lightyear and Minions movies.