Air America Review

            Air America is a Vietnam-era suspense comedy, trying to have the best of all worlds. The film has a political message, once again showing government as suspect during the Vietnam years. The CIA has set up a private airline in Laos, which is used to support troops and to make backdoor deals. There are many moral implications of this airline, and all of the wild civilian pilots seem to embrace these issues by creating their own scams and quirks to deal with the somber reality. The comedy sometimes feels out of place, the melodrama somewhat forced, but the experience is enjoyable due to the skilled stars in the lead roles.

            Billy Covington (Robert Downey, Jr.) is a thrill seeker working as an air traffic pilot, until he is fired for reckless flying. He is recruited to fly in Laos, unaware that he will be in constant danger and asked to do things that he feels are morally wrong, such as transport drugs in order to make deals work with local government. Veteran pilot Gene Ryack (Mel Gibson) attempts to convince Billy not to make waves, but he becomes determined to stop the corruption.

            Air America is an idealistic post-post-war Vietnam film, which never actually deals directly with Vietnam. Ultimately, it seems to be riding on the moral implication of the war, while staying far enough away to keep the laughs and thrills more lighthearted. Gibson and Downey are enjoyable to watch, engaging enough to gloss over the faults of the film.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Jr. Robert Downey, Nancy Travis
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Lions Gate
Run Time: 113 minutes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have seen Air America on TV, but I don’t think that I had ever watched the entire movie in one shot, unedited. I found it at and decided to watch it. Things were pretty slow in the ol’ DISH call center that night, and a movie sounded like a good way to pass the time. I really liked Air America, Gibson and Downy work well together. Maybe one day, once Mel stops going on weird tangents and rants, we could see a sequel.