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Action -Spies

Air America (1990)

Duration1h 53m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Norway: 10 
Source of storyLoosely based on a book by Christopher Robbins
DirectorRoger Spottiswood
Writers/ScriptJohn Eskow, Richard Rush
StarringMel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr, Nancy Travis, Ken Jenkins, Lane Smith, Burt Kwouk, 
RatingsIMDb: 5.8/10 by 28,512 people .  Rotten Tomatoes: 13% by 15 reviewers. Review2view: 5/10.

Elevator Pitch: Billy Covington, a daring young helicopter pilot has been suspended from flying, that is until the operators of CIA run airline in Laos contact him and give him a job. He is mentored by Gene Ryack, a particularly daring flyer, whose ambition is to sell a cache of firearms to pay for his retirement. Billy and Gene fly all sorts of stuff within the country, in favour of loyal villagers and against the Vietcong. The group constantly risk being shot down by rebel forced, the large cargo aircraft being particularly vulnerable, Billy and his team requiring to be rescued when he is shot down. The group are bedevilled by senator, who is investigating the possibility that they are drug running for General Lu Soong. Everyone works hard and plays hard, but will they survive?

Content: No sex or nudity but the guys associate with bar girls a lot, and also drink and smoke almost continuously. The senator wants to know what the guys are up to. General Soong has a drug factory in an abandoned Pepsi Cola facility. A young American woman looks after a refugee camp which figures in the plot. But mainly there is a lost of flying done, in cargo aircraft, single engine STOL aircraft and helicopters. It is impressive.

A View: This outing is billed as a comedy, which it might have been in 1990, but I don’t think it would even be made today. For a start, people are killed and the drug running takes a major part init. But if there is a saving grace, the scenes of the aircraft flying over the jungle are impressive, and much loved British actor Burt Kwouk played the role of his life as the corrupt General Soong. There is a lot wrong with this film, but it is maybe something to have on while doing your knitting.

Here are a few Mel Gibson films which are more fun than this outing: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Maverick and Get the Gringo

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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