May 12, 2022, - 3:18 pm

Top Gun: Maverick Whitewashes Iran in Pointless New Coke Reboot

By Debbie Schlussel

There’s a reason a lot of people don’t go to their 40-year high school reunion. They don’t want to see the people they remembered from their youth, now transformed into fat, balding shadows of what they once were. It’s depressing, and they have little in common with their old selves whom you once knew. That’s how I felt while watching Top Gun: Maverick with Tom Cruise who is just over a month away from his 60th birthday. Not sure which Navy has 60 year olds flying missions. Maybe the Scientology Naval Air division? And, then, there is the movie’s refusal to identify Iran as the unnamed nation developing raw uranium for nukes, at the center of the plot.

And like the shadows that once were your high school classmates, this movie is a shadow of what it once was. The ’80s soundtrack, chock full of Kenny Loggins ditties and Harold Faltermeyer/Hans Zimmer sounds, is the same one you remember, but the story is contrived and silly. Even more contrived and silly are the scriptwriters’ refusal to portray Iran as the real-life nuke-seeking villain that it is or even name the country. A major plot point is a mission: the new generation of Top Gun recruits is being trained to bomb raw uranium in an unnamed “enemy” country that is developing nukes in a facility at the bottom of two mountains. Um, what country could that possibly be? Not only does the movie refuse to name the place, but it declines to show you the faces of the enemy pilots, and the only insignia on a single old plane is a loon or fowl or some sort. The grounds of the country are snowy in a poor attempt to obscure what we know is the only enemy country that fits all these other real-world, modern-day criteria. Cough, cough–IRAN!–cough, cough.

Yes, it is true that Cruise has held up well (likely with fillers or plastic surgery) and looks good for his age. But he is still a hair away from 60, and the story line that he is still flying missions (and riding his motorcycle without a helmet) when we find him at the beginning of this totally unnecessary money grab of a Top Gun reboot. Cruise’s Maverick is recruited by Iceman (Val Kilmer), who is now an admiral who now oversees the elite Top Gun Naval flight school, to teach the new Top Gun recruits for the Iran—oops, . . . . “enemy” nation–mission.

Miles Teller, always a workmanlike actor, does a good job as Rooster, the son of “Goose” (Anthony Edwards), who–spoiler alert!–died in the first Top Gun (too soon?). With a weird pornstache, he definitely looks like he could be the character’s son. Just like everything in this movie resembles “Top Gun,” but is a faint shadow. Glen Powell, of whom I’m a fan, is a lightweight and ill-cast as “Hangman,” the new “Iceman.” He’s too nice to be a mean girl. And since this is a modern-day Top Gun school, there is an uninteresting chick pilot and a Black dude to make the point that the Top Gun school is diverse. Okay, thanks for letting me know. Box checked.

Because Kelly McGillis is now an overweight butch lesbian who is nearly 65, Jennifer Connelly fills the new love interest role for Cruise’s Maverick, as a San Diego bar owner whose heart he has broken after some sort of past dating relationship. I almost felt like I might have been watching a hybrid reboot that included Cocktail 3. What is the romance story behind her and Maverick? Who cares? It was so contrived and boring that it belonged in a bad ’80s movie. The whole sexiness with the Kelly McGillis romance–before she became an unattractive Rosie O’Donnell lookalike–was that she was the young Cruise’s flight instructor. This ain’t it. Oh, and Connelly drives a Porsche. Yaawn.

There is a reason–only one reason–to have made this Top Gun reboot: cha-ching. Money, money, money. They are playing on the heartstrings of my generation’s nostalgia for days of old. But, instead, though the music is the same and they try to imitate the story, it’s New Coke. They slapped the same name on it, but the taste is vastly less satisfying and too Nutrasweet. (Yes, I know New Coke didn’t have Nutrasweet, so no incorrect corrections, please).

Other than the extremely obtrusive refusal by this movie’s makers to name the enemy that is developing nukes out of raw uranium under mountains (can you imagine Rocky IV with Dolph Lundgren as merely a boxer from an unnamed “enemy” nation?), the movie is okay. But it’s not a great movie and it’s not Top Gun. It’s just a cheap imitation.

And 36 years later, did we really need another?

If you’re gonna wimp out on naming the enemy and deliver up a mediocre re-tread, it’s a no for me. Wokeness is killing the silver screen.

The movie comes out for Memorial Day Weekend. And what a shame. Did the men who really served, die so Tom Cruise could simultaneously cash in big while refusing to name the enemy?

Good thing he wasn’t around in 1942.


Watch the trailer . . .

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7 Responses

The original movie also had “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin, which in spots reminded me too much musically (if nothing else) of a William Bell hit from 1977, “Tryin’ To Love Two.” (Berlin is still performing, but their heyday was as much yesterday as “Top Gun.”) But enough irrelevancies. I haven’t been to a movie theatre in nearly two decades – and things like this are exactly why.

Concerned Patriot on May 12, 2022 at 5:35 pm

Welcome back to your website, Debbie.

Per this review, this movie is a must-skip.

JeffE on May 13, 2022 at 1:23 am


Thank you for saving us from these movies and exposing the attempts at the dumbing down of audiences. Your sacrifice is appreciated.

Phil Lipofsky on May 13, 2022 at 10:10 am

From the teasers, I gather that Jennifer Connelly plays Patti Benjamin, the “one Admiral’s daughter” over whom Maverick did a “high speed pass.”

Randy Faust on May 13, 2022 at 11:04 am

some of us will watch it and enjoy it. still has the thrill of planes, sounds of great music and i like that Cruise does his stunts.

tess on May 22, 2022 at 4:08 pm

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