Starring Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly and Timothy Dalton
Directed by Joe Johnston
As the ravages of the dreaded summer cold put me on what could best be described as a “Forced Hiatus” my typing mojo escaped me as I was forced to go into recovery mode. Now back on the upswing, another weekend is upon us here in our fair city of Toronto. If your first choices at the video store haven’t quite netted you the results that you hoped, it just may be time to dip into the “Retro” vault. On this edition, we go back to a film that then entire family can enjoy, that just happens to be celebrating its 20thanniversary this year; let’s strap in for The Rocketeer.
The year is 1938, and The Rocketeer takes us on the journey of a lifetime as test pilot Cliff Secord (Campbell) is thrust into a world of mystery, suspense and intrigue upon the discovery of a top secret jetpack. Navigating through an assortment of villains led by a Hollywood screen star with a nefarious secret (Dalton). With the help of his actress girlfriend (Connelly), Secord must battle enormous odds to defeat his foes that are anxious to use the jet pack in their plans for world domination!
Based on the comic book/graphic novel series of the same nameThe Rocketeer was set in the 1930’s and actually played a little like a film from that time. It was a campy action romp, with enough legitimate peril in the story to keep the adults interested with enough light action and humor. Director Joe Johnston whose work we will see next month in Captain America: The First Avenger has proven capable of moving a story through its motions in a light and entertaining fashion. Nobody has to play it heavy; just get from point A to point B to point C as effortlessly as possible.
None of the cast was required to stretch from an acting standpoint, Billy Campbell didn’t become the action star as had been hoped, but was entertaining and charismatic in the role and went a long way towards establishing his career as a working actor. Jennifer Connelly’s performance while a little underwhelming was an early sign to come of the higher profile roles she would excel in later years, while Timothy Dalton fresh off of his run as James Bond simply got to have fun hamming it up as the campy villain.
Despite being generally well received by critics at the time, The Rocketeer was a mediocre performer at the box office and found more of a life on home video. Well worthy of a second look on DVD if you are in the mood for a family friendly adventure film.
3 out of 5 stars.
The Rocketeer is available at video stores across Toronto, click here for more details.
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