Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Get 12 issues from just £25
Must-Have Movie Collectibles
Bid on some classic memorabilia
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Mel Gibson
Nancy Travis
Robert Downey Jr..
Directors
Roger Spottiswoode.
Screenwriters
Richard Rush
Richard Rush
John Eskow.
Running Time
118 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Blind
4 Star Empire Rating
A Second Chance
2 Star Empire Rating
Dreamcatcher
4 Star Empire Rating
High Tide
3 Star Empire Rating
My Name Is Salt
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
EMPIRE ESSAY: When Harry Met Sally
5 Star Empire Rating

Air America
Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. crash planes and have a laugh in this screwball action-comedy about the Vietnam war.


submit to reddit


Plot
Robert Downey Jr. plays a newboy pilot flying alongside Mel Gibson in wild-and-crazy mode giving covert air support to embattled anti-Communist rebels during the Vietnam war.


Review
Back in the late 60s and early 70s - around the time that US President Richard Nixon was busy denying any American presence at all in the supposedly neutral zones of South-East Asia - Air America, a CIA-controlled force of civilian pilots was, according to Christopher Robbins' book of the same name, busy providing covert air support for rebel anti-communist troops. This team of bug-eyed boys, according to Robbins, soon gained themselves a reputation as some of the most skilled and unhinged operators in the business.

Enter Hollywood and eye-in-the-sky maverick Billy Covington (Downey) who loses his job following a low-flying stunt over a Los Angeles freeway. Licenceless, Covington takes the offer of flying work abroad and ends up in a secret airbase in Laos, next to the border with 'Nam. His weird guy status cuts no ice, however, with the company of joystick juice-heads such as veteran Gene Ryck (a characteristically endearing Gibson) whose idea of a bad day is crashing more than once before lunch.

Unwitting drug runs and some CIA ass-covering soon rattle new boy Covington, as does the jaded Ryak, who's about to profiteer from the war himself and bugger off just as soon as he can. While Gibson and Downey work well together, Air America does tend to be slightly overcooked in the cheap laugh department at the expense of a meandering storyline.


Verdict
Any notion of a genuinely alternative movie about Vietnam ultimately disappears under just another good-looking but rather empty buddy-buddy routine.


Reviewed by Tim Fennell

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Empire's New Spectre Issue Covers
First look at Bond 24 in Empire's April issue

Vote For The Jameson Empire Awards 2015!
Your mission is clear...

The Oscars: Who Won What?
The winners, the losers, the dresses, the suits...

The Empire Podcast Oscars 2015 Special
The team's take on the 87th Academy Awards

Sleeping Beauties: The Story Behind 12 Of Cinema's Unlikeliest Hits
They came, they saw, they surprisingly conquered

Writer / Director Dan Gilroy Reveals 8 Nightcrawler Secrets
On Jake Gyllenhaal's hand-slicing mirror smash and more...

Robert Downey Jr. On Age Of Ultron
Tomorrow: Mark Ruffalo talks Bruce Banner...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)