Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Air America - Rewind Mini Review

Released 10 years ago today...

Original Release Date: August 10, 1990

Released at the tail end of the summer of 1990, Air America landed with a resounding thud at the box office for a number of reasons. Despite having two big names attached to it and a fairly whimsical trailer, people weren't too thrilled with a movie that made fun of a real government sanctioned program during the Vietnam war era. Also, even though Good Morning Vietnam saw a lot of success three years earlier, most audiences still weren't hip on the idea of drawing humor from a terrible war. None of that detracted though from the end product and regardless of how much it made it was a success on every other level.

This is one of the better non-franchise movies of Mel Gibson's career (Lethal Weapon, Mad Max) and it was a jumping off spot for the now box office powerhouse Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes). Both actors brought their A game to this film as well as director Roger Spottiswoode, this being his best directed feature. There is also a large supporting cast filled with a bunch of wonderful character actors that add a lot to the background elements.

The film is about a rag tag group of pilots that were rounded up during the Vietnam war to join the Air America program. Basically, they were responsible for being the CIA's private airline service in Laos where they unofficially would make supply drops and according to the film and the book it was based on some minor drug trafficking as well. You follow the characters on their little adventures and learn about one of the governments worst kept secrets at the same time. The film has aged well due to the time frame it was set in and still holds up really well as a sort of unofficial document for one of our country's more embarrassing failures. So, check it out if you get the chance, especially if you want to see classic Gibson before all of his legal troubles and Downey before he made it big.

Air America trailer:


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