Top Secret!


The film tells the story of Nick Rivers (Kilmer), a US pop singer. Rivers goes to East Germany to perform at a cultural festival. While there, he becomes involved in the French resistance movement and helps the beautiful Hillary Flammond (Gutteridge) rescue her father (Gough), a brilliant scientist being held by the East Germans and forced to build the deadly Polaris naval mine.


This is going to be a rather short review and for that I apologize, but Top Secret! just was never meant to be enjoyed by me, or at least the people making all the racket outside seemed to think so.

What is this about?

Following the success of their first feature, Airplane! the directing team of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker return with this farce about American rock idol Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer), who’s tapped to play at a cultural festival in East Germany. Nazis are staging the concert to distract attention from a secret attack on a submarine fleet, and before he knows it, Nick is trapped in an international incident, and aiding the French Resistance.

What did I like?

Youth. Val Kilmer these days is twice the man he used to be. I’m not quite sure that he has improved his acting skills. If anything, he very well may have gotten worse, but it was good to see the guy in his youth actually show some promise. I wonder what happened between then and now.

Jokes. Parody films these days suck, let’s face it. They need to go back and look at films like this and Airplane!, where the jokes are funny situations instead of just ripoffs of whatever is going on in pop culture when the picture is being made (usually a year or two before it is released). I appreciate funny, and this film has plenty of it, without going overboard.

What didn’t I like?

Plot. I know that there is some sort of plot going on here. Something involving a kidnapped scientist, an American singer performing for the first time in Germany, and a daughter who wants to rescue her father. Whether these things go together is a mystery, though, as I found it increasingly hard to keep up with what was going on. Keep in mind that there were massive distractions outside, that contributed to that, as well.

Overrated. In the early days of this blog, I caught some flack for my labeling Scarface as overrated. This resulted in a loss of quite a few readers. I guess some people didn’t agree. Well, hopefully that won’t happen this time, but I have to say it. This flick is held in high esteem, but I felt it is overrated.

I feel as if I didn’t really get a good feel of Top Secret!, thanks to the outside interference, but from what I saw, I was not impressed. The few good moments here and there don’t do enough to stave off the mediocrity that sets in not long into the flick. I wish I could give this a better review and rating but, based on what I saw, I just can’t. Do I recommend it? Yes, but only for those that want to see why this is so highly recommended by many people. Otherwise, it is best just catching in on TV when/if it comes on.

3 out of 5 stars


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