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Air America

Gooood morning, Vietnam - again? Actually, the fly boys in Spottiswoode's megabudget action comedy are just over the border in Laos, but the song remains the same: innocent and not-so-innocent Americans caught up in a war they don't understand. Crazy pilot Gibson is employed by the CIA to transport humanitarian aid and heroin, the latter intended to finance the local anti-Communist warlord's private army. Despite the black comic tone, it is impossible to identify with Gibson's cynical, selfish loner whose lucrative sideline is gun-running. That leaves the uncharismatic, ineffectual Downey holding the conscience ticket - as the wide-eyed new boy whose efforts to expose such nefarious activities cause the faeces to hit the propeller - and a huge hole in the middle of the picture. Somewhere amid the MASH-style lunacy, magnificent flying sequences and expertly choreographed stunts, a serious political movie is struggling to make itself heard. Mostly, however, this contentious counterpoint is reduced to background noise, drowned out by maniacal laughter, deafening explosions and a slew of late-'60s pop songs.

Release details

Duration: 118 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Screenwriter: Richard Rush, John Eskow
Cast: Mel Gibson
Robert Downey Jr
Nancy Travis
Ken Jenkins
David Marshall Grant
Lane Smith
Art La Fleur
Burt Kwouk
Tim Thomerson
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