If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Some days, you just gotta say 'fuck it'. Last night was one of those times, as I said the magic f-word disclaimer as I slipped the new blu of director Tony Scott's once a mega-hit (in fact, the biggest film of 1986), now almost universally derided, "Top Gun" into my PS3. Much to my disappointment, it wasn't a game (for the record, the PS3 could use some more quality flying combat games). The truth is, it had been literally decades since I'd seen the film that cemented Tom Cruise as the unstoppably toothy Hollywood juggernaut that he's been ever since, and as much as I'd like to pin it on some secret plot from Scientologists, the truth is that regarding popular entertainment, as a culture, we just weren't all that bright in the 80's. Firmly in the grip of cold war paranoia and Reagan's new proto-fascist brand of flag waving, America wasn't thinking things through clearly enough to see what "Top Gun" really was (and indeed pretty much all it was): propaganda to get young people to join the military. I'm not being conspiratorial to say such a thing. I'm sure some of you with warm and fuzzy feelings about the movie, but who haven't seen it in awhile, would quietly slink off if they sat down in front of it again with that in mind. And you'll never deny again Quentin Tarantino's famous assertion that it's filled with tons of homosexual subtext. At least in the first half, it seems like every other scene is dripping with male on male...um, okay, we'll just let that one lie. I'm sure THAT wasn't on purpose, but there's no denying that while sometimes a brotherly ass slap is just a brotherly ass slap, other times, well, it's "Top Gun". Ultimately, it holds up now as a museum piece about 80's excess, and a source of some cool dogfight sequences, and that's really about it. Of course, for those of you who don't agree (or think you don't agree...until you see it again), this new blu-ray looks and sounds decent enough (because we needed our Kenny Loggins songs upgraded, didn't we?), and comes accompanied with all the extras found on the original special edition DVD (including a TWO AND A HALF HOUR documentary about the making of...seriously?), commentaries, and a new 28 minute feature taking a look at the 'real' top gun school.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Top Gun (Blu-ray + Digital Copy)
Let me put you in my shoes for a minute: I get a lot (a LOT) of DVDs in the mail, often from tiny companies, and even the bulk of what stuffs my mailbox from larger companies is stuff that I definitively did not ask for or want. At least twice a month I get a western (yes, people are still making them), usually starring someone like Michael Madsen, and done on a shoe string budget. Prior experience has taught me to investigate a bit before taking a chance on eating up an hour and a half or so of my day with cheap video, filmed over the weekend, video store shelf space fillers. Generally speaking, with Westerns anyway, if it's new and I've never heard of it = garbage. Not so with this 2010 New Zealand film, "Tracker". It's the rarest of rare things these days, but sometimes solid casting can go a long, long way. Ray Winstone plays Arjan, a veteran on the losing side of the Boer War (look it up, kiddies), who, with all things from his former life dead or in ruins behind him in South Africa, has come to British-occupied New Zealand looking to start over. Immediately recognized as a bad-ass (and formerly a major thorn in the side of Britain during the war) one open-minded Captain hires Arjan, known as a master tracker, to lead a group to find Kereama (Temuera Morrison), a Maori sailor falsely accused of killing a British soldier. Arjan, weary of the accompanying soldiers double-guessing his knowledge, sets off on his own to find the equally competent Kereama, although it's only a matter of time before he catches up to the wounded man. With fantastic performances from both Morrison and Winstone as well as the chemistry between them, effectively used elements of "Enemy Mine"/"Hell in the Pacific", and a fun twist at the end, "Tracker" is that direct-to-dvd (in America, anyway) film that's actually worthy of tracking down. So to speak.
--CLICK HERE TO BUY Tracker