Classic launched Tom Cruise’s career – and the sequel promises to use all the skills he’s picked up over the years
It’s hard to imagine, but Tom Cruise was not today’s colossal star in the early 1980s. In his twenties, the young actor began to excel in dramas and comedies such as Everlasting love (1981) and risky business (1983). But one film forever changed the course of his career: best gun.
Released in 1986, the film made Tom Cruise an action star. As pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, the actor moves effortlessly between the charisma of a self-absorbed prodigy, the sensibility of a passionate young man, and also the intensity of a hero.
The classic, which recounts the journey of the eccentric young man in the largest flight academy in the United States, conquers with romance, humor, a remarkable soundtrack and intense flight scenes. The film is a good rehearsal of the characteristics that would define Tom Cruise’s fame. Although he didn’t have a lot of experience, he already aimed to ensure maximum authenticity in his performance.
The production invested $1.8 million to use US Navy equipment, airbases and pilots, and the classic’s various airborne battle scenes were filmed in real life, in the sky. But the actor went further and decided to spend weeks with the Marines.
For a short time in San Diego, California, Tom Cruise lived in a headquarters and followed the daily lives of pilots and instructors. From there, he managed to deliver a very realistic performance, consistent with the director’s vision. Tony Scott (brother of Ridley Scott).
Diving headlong into his own action scenes has become one of the actor’s trademarks. A decade later, he made that clear by starring in the franchise. Impossible mission. As Agent Ethan Hunt, Tom Cruise did all kinds of stunts, like hanging on cables, surviving explosions and, of course, lots and lots of errands – both escapes and chases.
As the saga progressed, the complexity of the stunts increased proportionally. In more recent films, you can see Tom Cruise rappelling down one of the tallest buildings in the world, piloting helicopters, jumping from roof to roof, and even hanging on to the door of a plane taking off.
It’s almost like a sideshow to watch behind the scenes and see that the actor himself has dedicated himself to all the action scenes, with the help of a few cables and no stunt doubles. It has become a central element of the image of Cruise, who is even planning a real trip to space to star in a film directed by Doug Liman (At the gates of tomorrow).
Now, over 35 years later, the film that launched his career is back with Top Gun: Maverick. In the film, the actor returns to the role of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, who has spent the past three decades in the cockpit doing all sorts of experimental tech and risky flying to keep him away from office work.
This time, Tom Cruise is no longer a hopeful boy in Hollywood, but one of the biggest names in the industry, and the movie promises to put his skills to good use. Don’t expect to see him hanging from a plane again, but this time, no need to hire professional pilots: the actor himself learned to fly jets.
In the hands of director Joseph Kosinski (oversight, Tron: Legacy), chases and dogfights will gain even more authenticity, with a level of fidelity that has become rare in an era when cinema relies almost entirely on computer graphics. It’s no wonder that first impressions of the unreleased feature praised the action scenes, with critics going so far as to describe it as “the perfect blockbuster”.
In nearly 40 years on the big screen, Tom Cruise has become a bonafide star, and has lived up to his reputation for needing stunt doubles. So the new best gun it’s like closing a cycle, which gives the actor the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that he’s only grown and improved over time.
Top Gun: Maverick arrives exclusively in cinemas May 26but the film can already be seen in special screenings of May 21 – buy your tickets here.
What are your expectations for the film? Leave it in the comments below and take the opportunity to check out 10 reasons to check out the big screen debut:
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