Flight of the Intruder

            There were many great films about the Vietnam War released in the 70s and 80s, with a large studio surge of films from 1986 to 1989. During these years nearly every Vietnam War film that would make a best-of list was made, with the exception of Apocalypse Now (1979), which was undeniably ahead of its time and about much more than the Vietnam War. By the 90s everyone from Michael J. Fox to Robin Williams had made a Vietnam War film, and the films became less serious. The Vietnam War films of the 90s are more comedic and action-packed. Universal Soldier and Hellraiser III used the war in the plot development of their genre films, whereas Air America made a buddy comedy out of aircraft flying during the war. Flight of the Intruder was release a year later, another buddy film about flying during Vietnam.

            Flight of the Intruder feels like a reenactment of Top Gun circa 1972, and with bomber planes. There is a buddy comedy element to the film, but it also drifts aimlessly into cliché action film territory, never giving much new to debate about the war itself. This films shares more in common with The Green Berets than it does any of the 80s Vietnam War films. Then the film ends with an elongated finale which essentially replicates Bat 22, a far superior film.

            Jake Grafton (Brad Johnson) is the hotshot pilot that doesn’t answer well to authority. When his co-pilot and friend is killed in a pointless mission, Jake becomes determined to find a way to get revenge. When his new bombardier, Cole (Willem Dafoe) proves to be as unconventional as he is, they decide to plan their own attack. They plan an aerial assault on a restricted area using a low elevation bomber without defensive weapons. This mission leads to some ridiculously implausible situations which make the first half seem realistic.

No comments: