Easygoing Five: Five top flicks from Tony Scott
Tony Scott passed away yesterday, the younger brother of Ridley Scott was the probably the best director to helm an action film in Hollywood and today we look at five of his best films.
Any list of top Tony Scott films wouldn’t be completed without Top Gun in the ranks.
The testosterone-driven 1980s blockbuster was Scott’s second feature film and launched the careers of Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer into a different stratosphere, so to speak.
The film followed the training of Tom Cruise’s Maverick and Anthony Edward’s Goose characters and all the trial, tribulations, romances and volleyball games they encountered along the way.
Tony Scott had the US Navy on board to help develop the script and many young kids that saw the film in 1986 were inspired to join the US war-machine with both the Navy and Air Force seeing a surge in recruitment after its release.
A sequel to Top Gun was supposedly in the works prior to Scott’s passing, but the original Top Gun set the template for what a summer action blockbuster should be.
Enemy of the State
It could be argued that Tony Scott was somewhat of a king-maker when it came to action film stars.
Top Gun and Days of Thunder cemented Tom Cruise as the brightest star in the Hollywood firmament and close to a decade later, Scott did it again with Will Smith in Enemy of the State.
An espionage-come-action flick Enemy of State placed Will Smith in title role of an unsuspecting civilian caught in the midst of a conspiracy to get an intrusive surveillance bill passed.
Supported by acting greats like Gene Hackman, Gabriel Byrne and Jon Voight, this film confirmed Will Smith as Hollywood’s most bankable leading man and showed that Scott knew what worked and sold in Hollywood.
Although Scott favoured movies with high-budget settings and big set pieces, he could always evoke some masterful character performances from top actors.
In Crimson Tide Scott returned to one of his favoured backgrounds – the American military mechanism and how it operated it the complex Cold War and post-Cold War world.
Scott also had a penchant for calling on actors he knew could rely on - James Gandolfini, Val Kilmer and Christopher Walken are all actor who have appeared in several Scott movies. In Crimson Tide Scott returned to two of his old reliables – Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.
This movie was set on board a US submarine dealing with the problem of a rogue Russian submarine, but the main action of the flick isn’t to do with ebb and flow of geopolitics in tense post Cold-War relations, but the altogether more intimate relationship between two senior officers with differing views on how to handle the situation.
Hackman and Washington make this movie and yet again, Scott was consistent in knowing what worked on the big screen.
Days of Thunder
After Top Gun’s commercial success thanks to the mixture of Tom Cruise, big engines, brooding masculinity and big budget action scenes, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer returned to the formula in 1990.
This time Scott helmed a movie about Cruise being a rambunctious young NASCAR driver. The film is very similar to Top Gun in narrative and structure and in how it was received – it made big bucks, but didn’t “wow” the critics.
Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise starred for the first time together in this film and it confirmed Scott’s status as the King of Action following the success of the archetypal Top Gun.
Beverly Hills Cop II
Scott was asked to manage the much-anticipated return of Eddie Murphy’s Axel Foley in the sequel to Beverly Hills Cop.
He managed it well commercially by making it the second highest grossing film of 1987 just behind Fatal Attraction.
Eddie Murphy was the centre of attention again and though the action-comedy didn’t break new ground it certainly built up a few bank balances.
Scott was one of the safest pair of hands in Hollywood to direct a movie, this is abundantly clear given the success of Beverly Hills Cop II.