Friday, 25 August 2017
The Rocketeer (1991)
Cliff Secord is a struggling pilot in 1930s California. He makes ends meet with crop-dusting and other odd jobs, but his main goal is to participate in the national aviation tournament. That seems impossible, however, when his new plane is written off in an accident caused by a pair of crooks trying to escape the FBI.
But then Cliff stumbles across the experimental rocket pack that the crooks were trying to steal, launching him into a new career as "The Rocketeer", just in time for him to tangle with hoodlums, a giant hit man, and Nazis.
When I was seven or eight years old, I used to love re-runs of King of the Rocket Men on TV. Which makes it pretty surprising that I never got around to seeing this film when it hit cinemas. It should have been right up my alley. And it makes it doubly surprising that I'd never seen it at all until now. Especially since I've seen many people mention it fondly.
Having finally corrected this oversight, I can report that the film is ... okay. The cast is personable enough (and Timothy Dalton is great) but the script and action leave a fair bit to be desired. In particular, I think there are several occasions where the film aims for (and misses) laughs when it should have aimed for (and hopefully hit!) excitement. It's not a bad film: I was more or less entertained through the run time, but - other than Dalton's performance - I never felt it lifted above "modestly enjoyable".