Danny Glover and Brad Johnson in Flight of the Intruder (1991)

Top 'Vietnam' Gun

In the midst of the Vietnam War Intruder pilot Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton (Brad Johnson) begins to question his and America's part in the war, brought on when his close friend and bombardier is killed on a mission which seemed to be pointless. Eventually Jake meets an ally in veteran bombardier, Virgil Cole (Willem Dafoe) who knows full well that in "Sam City" there is an arsenal of enemy weapons but they are prevented from striking as it is a no fly zone. After bonding the two decide to go rogue and go on an unsanctioned missile over "Sam City" knowing full well the consequences of their actions.

Let me get straight to the point; "Flight of the Intruder" is definitely not the best movie you will ever watch which deals with the Vietnam War yet it is one of the easiest to follow and if you are not overly interested in the politics of war it also has plenty of action to keep you entertained. It is why the movie works, it targets an audience who watch because they want action in the same manner as "Top Gun" but then makes it easy to understand why the Vietnam War was so emotive. In fact I would say that whilst not identical to "Top Gun" it certainly uses the Tom Cruise movie as inspiration.

Willem Dafoe in Flight of the Intruder (1991)

What that means is the first part of "Flight of the Intruder" sees Jake begin to question his part in the war whilst becoming close to the widow of the friend he lost. And this is where "Flight of the Intruder" is for me strongest because for those like me who are not watching to be educated it does enough of a job to explain that at times it felt like no one wanted to win the war and various missions seemed pointless. Along the way we also get some Navy pilot hijinks from hotdog flying to punch ups in bars. And then once it is done with everything it finishes with a good half an hour of action from more flying fun to some cowboy style heroics in the Vietnam jungle.

With the mention of punch ups in bars and cowboy style heroics it is pretty obvious that "Flight of the Intruder" is not the most realistic of Vietnam war movies. But whilst a lot of the action in "Flight of the Intruder" is over the top nonsense, including a scene where someone is dumped in a cage with gators, it is pretty entertaining. It is the same with the flying action because not only is it pretty over the top but the effects don't look natural either yet they have an impressive nature.

It is the same when it comes to the acting as Brad Johnson, Willem Dafoe and Danny Glover all deliver plenty of entertainment but their characters, well truthfully they some times feel like caricatures of those you might have watched in "Top Gun". This is certainly the case with Rosanna Arquette playing a character in the same manner as Meg Ryan. In truth one of the most entertaining things when it comes to the acting is that "Flight of the Intruder" marked the big screen debut of David Schwimmer.

What this all boils down to is that "Flight of the Intruder" is certainly entertaining, especially if you enjoy movies with that "Top Gun" feel to them. But whilst it does a nice job of entertaining it is ridiculously over the top in places which won't be to everyone's taste.