The Rocketeer (1991)
Plot: Takes place in the late 1930’s. A race pilot named Cliff Secord (Bill Campbell) discovers a prototype jet pack after the mob tries to steal it from the Government for popular Hollywood actor Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton) who wants it for unknown reasons. Cliff uses the jet pack, becoming famously known as the Rocketeer.
It’s a movie about a jet pack, and that’s about it. Look, I love jet packs as much as the next person, but do we really need a whole movie about it? Look at the Bond film Thunderball (1965). Back in the 1960’s, we got a jet pack scene for crying out loud. And in 1978 there was a little known movie called Superman where he flies. Why did someone think this would be cool and interesting? Who cares! Seriously, the whole thing is about some douche bag actor who wants to steal Howard Hughes’ (Terry O’Quinn) rocket pack. And the first scene were they test it is so cartoonish and stupid. The characters are likable, but it’s just an awful story. The music is downright terrible. Sorry James Horner, but its way too dramatic and over the top. Turn it down. I also hate all the news guys. It’s that typical over the top acting “Oh, what a scoop” tone going on that is just too much. Everything about the Rocketeer is over the top. The main character Cliff was kind of funny in that he’s a real jackass. His girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly) wants to be an actress and is really excited about possibly getting a role in a new movie. Cliff’s response is, “Oh, you mean you have lines this time.” Ouch. What a dick bag. The film has some okay action and good acting all around, but it’s infused with clichés, predictability, and just a throw away story. The Rocketeer is simply forgettable.
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Barely Passable Entertainment)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout)
Best Performance: Timothy Dalton as Neville Sinclair
-As much as I want to go with John Locke from Lost (Terry O’Quinn), Dalton was a very dastardly villain. He’s such a sleazebag, but so charming while doing it. He’s also got an evil looking mustache, so you know you’re in deep shit.
Worst Performance: Tiny Ron Taylor as Lothar
-If there’s one thing that really gets my yammaka in a knot, it’s big dumb enforcer bad guys who just grunt. What is this guy’s deal? And just because you are tall and wear all black and talk in a deep voice, it doesn’t automatically make you a bad ass. You have to earn it, dammit! And how can he pick people up and smash them through ceilings, but one little glass plate over his head knocks him out cold. What a stupid character.
Best Line: “I may not make an honest buck, but I’m one-hundred percent American. And I don’t work for no two bit Nazi.” –Mobster Eddie Valentine
-It’s nice too see mobsters with some morals here and there.
Worst Line: “Goodbye Eddie. Happy Valentine’s Day.” –Neville to Eddie Valentine right before he orders his death
-Wow. It’s a joke worthy of Batman and Robin (1997).
-It was fun to see mobsters take out Nazi’s, so there you go.
-Okay, why the hell does Jenny Blake leave her name and number with a giant heart drawn around it, and right on the local diner message board? Not only that, it says “lady luck” on it too. Geez Jenny, take it easy.
-To be honest, there’s barely anything to choose from. I guess seeing the Rocketeer fly on top of the huge blimp at the end was okay.
-The whole sequence at the fancy Hollywood Restaurant where Cliff tries to rescue Jenny just sucks. It’s completely predictable and cliché galore here. Let’s see, we have the hero disguise himself as a bus boy. Check. The Rocketeer loses control of the rocket and flies into a bunch of food and dinner tables. Check. The Rocketeer escapes by flying out the glass ceiling. Check. Wow, great effort guys.
-Bob Leeman comes in to play W.C. Fields. He meets Jenny Blake and says “Charmed my dear.” The camera then zooms down to a close-up of Jenny’s chest with the nipples clearly showing, and Fields adds, “Doubly charmed.” This is a Disney film…yikes.
Bad Ass Moment:
-They finally do something a little different and unexpected with this rocket pack. Peeves’ car won’t start, and so Cliff jumps behind it and uses the rocket to propel the car while in neutral. It’s the one clever moment in the film.