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Space Cowboys (2000)
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Review Date: July 30, 2000
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Ken Kaufman, Howard Klausner
Producers: Clint Eastwood
Actors:
Clint Eastwood as Frank Crovin
Tommy Lee Jones as Hawk
Donald Sutherland as Jerry
James Garner as Tank Sullivan
Plot:
A bunch of old guys who never got the chance to fly into space about 40 years ago, get another opportunity to ride through the sky when NASA needs them to complete a mission based on obsolete technology. The old-timers must pass various training sessions to be approved for the mission, and bring a couple of younger astronauts with them for assistance. Let the games begin!
Critique:
An adult drama featuring many humorous moments early on, most of which poke fun at the characters' old age, with four solid lead performances, convincing effects, but little originality and very little emotional attachment to its characters. And with an exact imprint of the ARMAGEDDON plot line, an out-of-place romance angle and horribly tacky theme song, you might say that this film doesn't have much going for it. But that wouldn't entirely be true because the charisma and chemistry of the four leads is more than enough to coast you through the film without any major spasms of boredom. Clint is rock solid as usual, with his veins popping even more juice into his "man against the system" stance. Sutherland also impressed as the skirt-chaser of the group, and Tommy Lee Jones stood tall as the Tommy Lee Jones that he plays in a lot of his movies: the fast-talking tough guy with a big heart deep down inside. Garner was also pretty good. One thing I would like to say is that I have personally had just about enough of James Cromwell playing the "shady" guy running the show in a lot of his recent parts. Let's give it a rest for a while, hey fella?

The movie on the whole will probably be enjoyed much more by adults, most of whom will more than likely appreciate the "old-time" humor more than the rest of us, and many of whom might not have seen its equivalent MTV film version, i.e. ARMAGEDDON. In fact, many of the older audience members in my crowd seemed to be laughing much more at some stuff than I was. But whether or not you are part of the younger or older crowd shouldn't deflect from the fact that this film doesn't exactly offer much original content. Many of the pictures, adventures and obstacles faced by the crew of characters in this film have already been seen before, and very little real tension seemed to exist. I was also surprised to find little emotion stirred in me when an occasion to stir emotion arose in the film. Looking back, I would say that the characters were definitely fun to watch and amusing to follow, but not extremely well developed. I did love the last shot in the film, which is hovered down to over a classic rendition of Frank Sinatra crooning "Fly Me to the Moon". Very cool. Overall, the movie is good enough to warrant a looksie, but nothing entirely special. If you are a fan of the actors, you should probably check it out on the big screen, but for all other undecided onlookers, the small screen video station is probably your best bet for this ho-hummer.

One thing that sort of did "put me off" in this film was the use of the older actors' voices during the early black-and-white scenes in the movie. It set me aback, because they basically had younger actors who looked like the older ones delivering their lines, but with the older actors' voices coming out. Very strange. For the record, the younger lookin' Clint Eastwood guy was a dead-on impression!
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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