It has been too long since I have talked about some good quality crap, but I found a solution to that little problem: Thunder Birds (1990) “starring” Tommy Lee Jones and Nicholas Cage who play helicopter pilots waging war against the evil drug lords of South America. Well it is not too hard to see that we a have tired and predictable plot before we get even 20 minutes into the movie.
In this poor man’s Top Gun, Cage plays the role of the arrogant, yet talented Maverick pilot, while Tommy Lee Jones serves as the cagey veteran/mentor. As expected in this formulaic waste of time, Cage must overcome one hurdle before he can be considered a full fledged pilot–a test called the “bag” where the pilot uses certain technology to fly the helicopter using one eye while taking in data with the other. Naturally, he fails two out of three times, but with the expert tutelage of Jones, Cage passes muster so he can continue through the program to defend America against the (allegedly) better financed and equipped Cartels.
Not only does Cage do some of his best over the top cornball acting in this one, but if you listen to Jones, it almost sounds as if he is laboring to say his lines—almost like he knows they are bad while he is saying them.
Naturally, like Fire Bird’s predecessor Top Gun, in the end Cage comes through with some superhuman flying to take down the enemy. Oh yeah, there is (of course) a love interest between Cage and some old flame who just happens to be a reconnaissance pilot attached to the task force as well. Are you kidding me?
A word about Cage—yes he has done a couple of good movies Lord of War and Leaving Los Vegas, but otherwise I find his choice of roles and his ham it up style of acting to be dreadful. Moreover, don’t try and tell me that because he changed his name from Coppola to Cage so that he could “make it on his own” in the movie business was some great sacrifice. If you think Uncle Francis Ford Coppola didn’t kick open a few doors for him (whether explicitly or implicitly) your kidding yourself and would probably like this time wasting movie.
I think the cliché clips help say it all.