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Top Gun: Maverick (IMAX in some cinemas)


Stars: Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Val Kilmer, Monica Barbaro, Ed Harris, Jean Louisa Kelly, Lewis Pullman

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Thirty years on, Maverick is back and it's quite a ride. Stalled at the rank of captain (promotion, apparently, would ground him because of age) while his friend Iceman (Kilmer) has progressed to air admiral, Maverick (Cruise), still flying, is taking part in a training programme to fly fighter jets ever faster when his programme is cancelled and he finds himself reassigned, back to the Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) - as an instructor.

Maverick is at the end of his career, and his superiors (Hamm, Harris) at the end of their tether, so the mission is short and specific - to train six pilots (out of an original twelve) to bomb the hell out of a uranium facility, being readied for attack by the enemy (Russia?).

Protected by high cliffs, the plant is, appropriately, a mission impossible that might have made even the late James Bond's stiff upper lip quiver. Quite apart, that is, from presumably starting World War Three.

We must let that slide, though, for the aerial action's the thing throughout, and it hits swift, spectacular and hammer-hard. Planes deafeningly swoop, swerve, climb and fire in hand-to-hand dogfights in a class of action rarely seen before on screen.

On the ground, there's an old squeeze ('Eyebrows' Connelly) for Maverick to woo, and a new collection of pilots with unlikely callsigns, including a woman (Barbaro), although it's Powell's indolently grinning Hangman who steals the show.

Cruise hogs the camera rather a lot, but then he did co-produce the film. Don't rule Top Gun 3 out of the equation.

David Quinlan

USA 2022. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by Company 3.
131 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 19 May 2022