Evil Russia is back in the news, so why not “Top Gun”? Tom Cruise has confirmed rumors that one of his first screen triumphs — 1986’s jingoistic fighter pilot/army recruitment commercial — is “definitely” getting a 30-plus-years-later sequel. Val Kilmer might even be a part of it — or at least he’s been saying lately that he’d love to do it, should they ask him. (Please let Iceman have turned into the crazed rocker Kilmer played in Terrence Malick’s “Song to Song,” cutting his hair with a giant knife and taking a chainsaw to giant speakers.)
The original was the movie that cemented Cruise’s status as the biggest movie star in the world, not just the kid who danced around in his undies and battled killer pimps in “Risky Business.” It was also thoroughly, disgustingly ’80s. Alongside “Rambo: First Blood, Part II” and “Rocky IV,” it’s the most Reagan era movie of the decade, with its macho warriors battling a faceless enemy in between oily volleyball sessions on the beach that looked like outtakes from a Kenneth Anger sequel to “Scorpio Rising.”
Then there’s this: Wouldn’t a sequel be, like, a bit dated? Well, we are back to chilly relations with Russia. And there are plenty of countries Trump could bully into a war. Maybe Cruise could fight North Korea, or China, or perhaps Australia. Either way, it seems an odd time for a new “Top Gun.” Based on his approval ratings and relentless mockery from news organizations and sketch comedy shows alike, Trump is no Reagan, and the only people who would be swayed to sign up after seeing an Orange Menace-era “Top Gun” aren’t cool, progressive millennials. They’re old, angry Fox News addicts. And they’re too busy leaving comments on Breitbart to jump into a fighter plane.
You’d assume Cruise’s Maverick would be top brass now, maybe taking Tom Selleck’s old job. Don’t be so sure. Despite being well into AARP age, the actor is still partying like he’s a crazy teenager. He still does his own stunts, he’ll still jump on a moving plane or hold his breath for six minutes just to entertain us. When an actor hits his 50s, he slows down, takes on some more dramas. Right now, Cruise isn’t doing any dramas. In fact, he’s doing it backwards: When he was younger, he did dramas and dramedies and serious movies. When he got older is when he transformed into a god of action.
And so we’re definitely getting another “Top Gun” — probably. Cruise says they should start filming next year, but they don’t even have a director or a screenwriter or a supporting cast. Maybe they’ll realize the Trump era is a pretty weird time for another “Top Gun.” Maybe we should wait till the world chills out — maybe when Cruise is 65? Meanwhile, get back to work on “Edge of Tomorrow 2.”