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Blu-ray Review: Top Gun 30th Anniversary

May 8, 2016 | By Herija Green | Comments (0)
Top Gun 30th Anniversary
You’ve lost that lovin’ feeeeeeeeeeeelin’.

For reasons we truly can’t explain, we’re very familiar with Top Gun. And we say that despite being reasonably certain we hadn’t seen it this century, have never owned it on any format and don’t really recall watching it growing up more than once or twice. Apparently, the adventures of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell and Nick “Goose” Bradshaw left an indelible mark on our subconscious, or perhaps our parents secretly played it for us on a loop while we slept.

Either way, 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Top Gun, a film that historians might actually consider the genesis of the bromance. To celebrate, Paramount is releasing a special Steelbook Edition on Blu-ray. So it’s time to feel the need… the need for speed.

THE PLOT

Pete Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is an exceptional pilot that has a problem with authority, but when his aircraft carrier’s top F-14 Tomcat team unexpectedly washes out after an encounter with Soviet MIGs, he and his RIO Goose (Anthony Edwards) are grudgingly elevated and sent to the Navy’s elite fighter weapons school — better known as Top Gun.

Led by Viper (Tom Skerritt), the lead instructor who flew with Mitchell’s father, and Jester, they’ll battle it out with other top pilot teams in a series of exercises designed to determine the literal best of the best. It’s here Maverick encounters Iceman (Val Kilmer), who immediately emerges as Mitchell’s main rival for aerial supremacy.

On the ground, Maverick becomes enamoured with Charlie Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), who happens to be a civilian instructor that analyzes flight scenarios. Can Maverick balance his ambitions as a pilot with his burgeoning emotional attachment to Charlie, or will the pressure cause him to crash and burn?

THE GOOD

Back before CGI was a thing, filmmakers had to actually get really talented pilots in the air and have them do some damn impressive flying. Having the whole thing grounded in reality really helps it hold up three decades later, and you just feel like if the film were made today, the jets would have to be doing an obscene number of CGI barrels rolls and scraping wings on cockpits or something like that.

There are plenty of good actors in Top Gun, led by Cruise and Kilmer, even if the latter has a supporting part. And while the story isn’t particularly in-depth there’s still enough to move things along. It strikes a good balance between bravado and emotion, though not with a lot of subtlety, and ends up delivering a well-paced and enjoyable film.

Seeing the entire thing remastered into high-definition goodness proves to be interesting, and it’s actually quite refreshing to see how much more authentic even the actors looked — Cruise basically has a unibrow and teeth that clearly had major work done on them later. Oh, and seeing Oceanside, where we grew up, circa the 1980s with the famous “Top Gun house” is pretty cool, too.

THE BAD

Has enough time passed that we can acknowledge how bad some of these soundtracks were? Look, we get there’s probably nostalgic value in Kenny Loggins belting out Danger Zone, but when it swells up for like the eighth time, it’s probably overkill. Same goes for Take My Breath Away and that little instrumental ditty (AKA, the Top Gun Anthem) that plays approximately 217 times.

When the action is not airborne, the film can feel a little ponderous no matter how many locker room confrontations and semi-nude two-on-two volleyball scenes we’re treated to. It’s not poorly paced, per se… it just has a little too much downtime for our liking.

THE BONUS FEATURES

While no content has been added to the film itself, the 30th Anniversary does come loaded with a large number of extras, including commentary by the late Tony Scott, who directed the film, as well as producer Jerry Bruckheimer. There’s also a “making of” featurette, a bunch of trailers/TV spots, music videos for the aforementioned songs and more. There’s nothing exceptional, but fans of the film should find at least some of it interesting.

OVERALL

There’s some good action in Top Gun, and even though not everything has aged all that well, there’s an undeniable element of fun that pulses through the film from start to finish. Although it’s aimed at the nostalgia crowd, you needn’t have grown up with it to enjoy it.

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Video Game Review: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada

May 6, 2016 | By Brian Gunn | Comments (0)
Abaddon the Despoiler has arrived in the Gothic sector for vague reasons, and it’s up to the Imperial Navy to stop him. The basic plot setup is perhaps on the simple side, but there’s actually a fair amount of intrigue as things ramp up. While the central conflict is between the Imperial and Chaos factions, the Eldar and Orks are also present to give things a bit of variety.
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Video Game Review: Assassin’s Creed Chronicles

May 3, 2016 | By Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
We enjoyed the art design of all three games, and even though a lot of design elements are simply re-skinned from one to the next, they never lost their charm; India is particularly colourful and lively. The animations look good as well, particularly some of the more vicious assassinations. Stylized stills are used to tell the threadbare stories.
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The Wire Troll: Steven Wright is No Laughing Matter

May 1, 2016 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Santana came back from a hamstring woe last week and has reached base in all five games he’s played since. It’s early, but he’s hitting much better than last year, although we’re still waiting for his extra-base sock to return to what he did as a rookie. Speed, decent power and a fine BA is the upside here, so we strongly suggest you consider Santana for your AL-only team.
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2016 RotoRob Top 75 MLB Prospects, Part IV

April 29, 2016 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Another newcomer to the list this year, Frazier was Cleveland’s top pick in 2013 and after improving his contact rates and flashing more speed than ever at High-A last year, he’s landed firmly on the prospect list. He has power, speed, can hit for a pretty high average and will even bunt his way on at times. Frazier has made the jump to Double-A this year and while the Georgia high school product isn’t walking as much, the rest of his numbers have remained solid — a very promising sign, indeed.
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