The “uncompromising style” referred to in director Joseph Kosinski’s (Oblivion) biography involves more closeups than a flight simulator cockpit and an ability to do what you're told by keeping one’s yap shut when the media mentions scientology. Don’t let the mumbo jumbo regarding a mission to prevent the opening of a foreign country's unsanctioned uranium plant fool you: this isn’t a plotless sequel, it's a plotless remake geared to meet audience expectations with mindless mimeography. The only survivor of the original not asked back was Kelly McGillis who told E.T., "I'm old, and I'm fat, and I look age-appropriate.” How many millions would have been shaved from the box office had Captain Mitchell (Tom Cruise) gone gunning for a geriatric? (The gravity-defying Jennifer Connelly was recruited to play Maverick’s beard.) And what would a remake be without a bevy of ripped hunks sweat-polishing their washboard abs in the burnt afternoon sun? On a note of originality, volleyball has been replaced by touch football. And for those drooling over the aerial footage, I submit Anthony Mann’s Strategic Air Command and Josef von Sternberg’s Jet Pilot for further study. With: Miles Teller and Val Kilmer cometh back as “Iceman.” (2022) — Scott Marks
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