Why the new Top Gun movie won't take my breath away

After 36 years of keeping the world on tenterhooks, the wait is finally over.

Was Top Gun really that good?
Was Top Gun really that good?

No, not the Sue Gray report. I mean the new Top Gun movie, which finally reached the cinema this week after weeks of hype to almost rival the last James Bond film.

There is a saying that nostalgia isn't what it used to be, but it certainly seems to be big business if the fuss about the hotly anticipated sequel is anything to go by.

Call me sceptical, but I don't think I'm going to be joining the queue. In fact, I think I was marginally more excited by Miss Gray's fine prose.

To be honest, the only thing I really remember about the original Top Gun was Berlin's Take Your Breath Away soundtrack, and Kelly McGillis asking Tom Cruise why he had a silly name – Maverick, that is, not Tom Cruise.

Mark Andrews can't get too excited by new Top Gun movie

Otherwise, it seemed just the typical movie-by-numbers of 1980s Hollywood. Cocky young buck with raw talent but bad attitude, check. Traumatic experience causes cocky young buck to re-evaluate his life, check. Redemption comes with the help of glamorous blonde, check. With just the right amount of sickly-sweet romantic schmaltz thrown in.

But even if you were a fan of Top Gun first time around, do we really need another?

Occasionally a sequel can be better than the original. For example, there is a strong argument that Mutiny On The Buses had a more powerful plot-line than the first movie, particularly with regard to the majestic performance of Bob Grant as Jack the Randy Conductor. It is true that the James Bond franchise has reliably produced some pretty watchable films over the years, even if they did go a bit stale during the Pierce Brosnan years. At a push, you can probably even argue that the Pink Panther films consistently offered a healthy dose of slapstick fun.

But beyond that, you're struggling a bit, aren't you? Jaws – shark eats people, they kill the wrong shark, get scared, and then kill the right shark – was a pretty feeble story to begin with – yet somehow they managed to squeeze four movies out of it. Terminator, Terminator 2, Robocop, Robocop 48. Are people really so short of imagination that they want to keep watching the same films over and over again?

The real Top Gun sequel

And if there's one thing worse than sequel overload, it is the surfeit of third-rate remakes. The Italian Job with Michael Caine was unquestionably a classic. Yet 34 years later, a group of Tinseltown money men presumably tucked into their tea and biscuits and concluded "What would really take it to another level would be if we replaced Caine with Mark Wahlberg". And while Peter Sellers might have managed a few memorable performances as Inspector Clouseau, who thought it would be a good idea to remake it with Steve Martin? As for the 2016 Dad's Army remake, really the least said the better.

Surely there are producers and scriptwriters who can come up with new ideas for films, rather than milking to death every movie from yesteryear?

And besides, it might not have been marketed as part of the official franchise, but the true sequel to Top Gun was actually made more than 30 years ago. Same Berlin soundtrack, same special effects, and a slightly stronger storyline.

It was an advert for a Peugeot. Took my breath away.

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