The story is risible, the direction routine, the underlying ethic highly questionable; but the flying stirs the blood like speed. This concerns the exploits of one 'Maverick' (Cruise), who aspires to be top gun at the Top Gun, the US Navy Fighter Weapons School at San Diego. In what looks suspiciously like a retread of the An Officer and a Gentleman storyline, Maverick, an arrogant piece of Officer Material, climbs the ladder of fly-boy success, falls in love with his aeronautics instructor (an unlikely McGillis), and has his best friend and navigator (Edwards) fall off the ladder and into a concrete cloud. However, the traditional mainstays of love and death are here supplemented by lengthy and highly realistic dog-fight sequences, in which the pupils and instructors tail-chase each other all over the desert sky, and then do it for real with an unnamed enemy over the Indian Ocean. A great ride to hell and back; kick the tyres, light the fires, and you're away. CPea.