Good news for people who like shitty ‘80s military agitprop: Tom Cruise says they’re finally going to make Top Gun 2. We can hardly contain our excitement.
According to The Guardian, he made the announcement on the Australian morning show Sunrise, during an appearance to promote his new remake of The Mummy, which also sounds like a terrible idea. Asked about the long-rumored follow-up to his 1986 hit, Cruise confirmed, “It’s true. It’s true. I’m going to start filming it probably in the next year. I know. It’s happening. It is definitely happening … you’re the first people that I’ve said this to.”
Whispers about the sequel have been circulating pretty much since the day it came out and made a bajillion dollars, but they ramped up last year when the film’s producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, tweeted this:
Continuing the Top Gun series would make Cruise quite the busy franchise custodian: in addition to the long-running Mission: Impossible movies and the short-running Jack Reacher films, he reportedly has a sequel in the works to his 2014 film Edge of Tomorrow, and The Mummy is being positioned as the kick-off of a “Dark Universe” franchise based on the classic Universal monster movies. Once upon a time, Cruise balanced his commercial films with risky, grown-up movies from the likes of Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, Michael Mann, and Paul Thomas Anderson, but those days are getting further and further into the rear view.
Top Gun was released in 1986 and was the film that, after small hits like Risky Business and All the Right Moves, truly cemented Cruise’s superstar status. (It also kicked off a series of films in which he was the World’s Best [Insert Profession]: the World’s Best Pool Player in The Color of Money, the World’s Best Bartender in Cocktail, and the World’s Best Racecar Driver in Days of Thunder, which reunited him with Top Gun’s production team, but with diminishing commercial returns.) It was a big, sleek, slick slab of soulless ‘80s Product, full of pretty people and cool planes and a thin story that was, according to David Sirota’s book Back to Our Future, “shaped by Pentagon brass in exchange for full access to all sorts of hardware,” creating something akin to a “contemporary newsreel” and recruiting tool. And it worked, according to Sirota: “Recruitment spiked 400 percent when Top Gun was released, leading the navy to set up recruitment tables at theaters upon realizing the movie’s effect.”
But none of this is as offensive as The Guardian’s Steph Harmon referring to the film as “something of a cult classic” which NO, NO, WORDS HAVE MEANING, NO, Eraserhead is a cult classic, Repo Man is a cult classic, Top Gun grossed $356 million worldwide, it was a giant mainstream blockbuster, THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF A CULT CLASSIC, C’MON.
But it does remain a beloved property among views of a certain age, or those who were at a certain age when it was released. And it has attained some ironic cachet for its homoerotic subtext, best articulated by none other than Quentin Tarantino in the 1994 indie film Sleep With Me:
Anyway! All we know about Top Gun 2 so far is that it’s happening and Tom Cruise will be in it. But Kelly McGillis is now 59 years old, so they’ll probably cast some 20-year-old Disney alum as Cruise’s romantic interest. And director Tony Scott is no longer with us – sadly, because his stylish lensing is about all the film has to offer – so I’m sure they’ll hire Len Wiseman or some shit.