Two pilots go against the rule book in a bid to win the war in Viet Nam in this speculative military drama. Lieutenant Jake Grafton (Brad Johnson) is a U.S. Navy pilot stationed aboard an aircraft carrier after the death of his one-time flying partner Morgan McPherson (Christopher Rich), who perished during a recent, ill-advised mission. Lt. Grafton, who has become cynical about the current state of military affairs, is convinced that if the war were left to the soldiers rather than the politicians overseeing the Pentagon, United States victory would be swift and assured. Grafton shares this opinion with Virgil Cole (Willem Dafoe), a supremely confident new pilot under his command, and together they commandeer an A-6 Bomber, known as The Intruder, for an unauthorized bombing raid against Hanoi. The city had been declared off-limits because it was believed that it would have a negative impact on the Paris peace talks, so the raid lands Grafton and Cole in hot water. However, when the talks break down, President Richard Nixon authorizes the pilots to lead a new strike against Hanoi with everything they’ve got.
Me and my son sat down the other evening to watch this movie. We had actually planned to watch something from my Movie Collection where I have a few movies pending but then I saw that this Movie was shown on Paramount Channel and I suggested it to my son, who is a airplane freak, and so the plans got shifted.
I would say that this is a classical Hollywood war movie, it is rather entertaining, it is hugely predictable and it is quite unrealistic.
Several of the reviews that I have read praise the flight scenes. Actually, I am mildly impressed with those, even trying to take into account that the movie is rather old (1991). They are okay but really nothing more as far as I am concerned. There are certainly nothing fantastic about them and I was actually somewhat annoyed by the blatant reuse of the same footage over and over again when it came to the Vietnamese artillery and SAM sites.
The general story is utterly predictable from the very first fifteen or so minutes of the movie. Classical Hollywood material in other words. It is not bad really. It makes for a decent enough movie evening but it is very far from great. Speaking of classical Hollywood stuff, there is of course the classical love story in the middle of things. To me this is rather superfluous and adds little more than length to the movie.
I did like the performance of the main actors. Danny Glover, Willem Dafoe and Brad Johnson are all fairly well fitted to their roles. If the script would just have been a wee bit more intelligent and realistic this movie would have been elevated from entertaining to quite good.
Speaking of realistic, that bombing run at Hanoi and “SAM City” was just so ludicrously unrealistic that it was almost boring. Just to add to the pain, when I thought that the silliness was over, they make another run! Give me a break! That was the kind of stuff that you would expect, and appreciate, in a John Wayne war movie or western, not in a movie from the 90’s.
Still, it is an enjoyable movie even though it has little to elevate it from the rest of the bunch of average and moderately enjoyable movies.