Published on October 13th, 2008 | by Chris0
Flight of the Intruder (1991)
I really wish I could nail down what Flight of the Intruder is trying to be. I think the problem is it tries to be too much, and fill too many different 'roles' as a movie that it never really succeeds at any of them. If that makes any sense. Maybe another case of good-book doesn't make quite such a good movie, I'm not sure.
What you've got is a Vietnam-era Navy A-6 Intruder pilot, Jake "Cool Hand" Grafton (Brad Johnson) who loses his bombadier/RIO in a mission and starts to get the feeling that his number is up soon. He gets paired up with the quirky legend and long-timer "Tiger" Cole (Willem Dafoe) and things start to go all over the board.
On one hand I think this picture tried to be another "Top Gun", that seems to be clear. Otherwise they wouldn't have thrown in the brief and useless love story/encounter with the single mother Callie (Rosanna Arquette.) at the end of the supposed-to-be comical trip to town. At least that's what it felt like to me.
Then there's the whole "lost wingman" bit, and the "hooa!" take on everything. Danny Glover's role as the carrier CO reminds me of that guy from Top Gun as well, you know. But then it starts to morph from just another Top Gun remake into something else entirely.
Now Cole and Grafton decide to explore the "lets make Vietnam mean something" route, and plan a rogue mission to make a bombing run into downtown Hanoi. WTF? Forget that they're breaking every rule in the book here on what amounts to a suicide mission....
....which they end up botching and just barely returning from in their shot up A-6. So briefly we foray into the realm of military courtoom drama, as the pair are (rightfully) court martialed, but then let off the hook just as Linebacker II starts up. Sigh, make up your minds guys?!
THEN, they get orders to make a full out bombing run at enemy SAM positions in front of a B-52 run, and the Captain (yes, the Captain, why's he flying again?) gets himself shot down and pinned down. Well who should come to the rescue but Cole and Grafton, only to get *themselves* shot down.
Now we're in some sort of revisit of Platoon, as Dafoe sacrifces himself so the Sandies can take out the anti-aircraft guns and the rescue choppers can get in.
Sigh. Bouncing back and forth from one thing to the next. Don't get me wrong, parts of this film are really good. The entire ending battle surrounding the downed A-6, the dogfight scenes, the bombing runs.... Taken piece by piece each bit is really quite good. But slapped together sort of haphazardly as it is, it just doesn't make a lot of sense in the end.
I'm sure a lot of folks like this picture, I'm not one of them. Yeah its nice to see some awesome military aircraft action, but figure out what the story is! Flight of the Intruder just has too many stray ends for me.
Summary: Don't get me wrong, parts of this film are really good. The entire ending battle surrounding the downed A-6, the dogfight scenes, the bombing runs.... Taken piece by piece each bit is really quite good. But slapped together sort of haphazardly as it is, it just doesn't make a lot of sense in the end.