A fun and frothy, summer-popcorn Tom Cruise film that was one of his better recent outings and will surely entertain the masses. However, for all of director Doug Liman's kinetically-charged and docu-like storytelling, and Cruise's high-energy performance and undeniable charm, this film lacked depth and only superficially glossed through the incredible true story of Barry Seal. For those looking for more complex characters and deeper narratives regarding the Medellin Cartel, drug smuggling and money laundering, you would be better off tuning in to Netflix's "Narcos" and "The Ozarks".
The film was consistently and constantly fun. Gary Spinelli's script was easy and breezy and littered with references to 80s pop culture. Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson also had the best quips which kept the story light.
However, despite all that - the superficiality of the narrative and the humour - the biggest problem with the film is the lack of a central conflict. Without that conflict, there is no build up to any sort of climax or even a climax for that matter. But yet Cruise's innate charisma and Liman's unique style, managed to ably obfuscate the audience enough to just go along with the ride.
Like most of Cruise's non-ensemble based films, the other players/actors - and theirs characters - do not really matter. Perhaps only Caleb Landry Jones stood out, and with his recent outing in "Twin Peaks: The Return" , Jones is really nailing the tweaker loser. Nonetheless, the film is all about Cruise and his maniacal energy efficiently carried the paper-thin plot through all 117 minutes and distracts us from the lack of characterisation of his Seal.
The cinematography by César Charlone was gorgeous and beautifully recreated the Instagram filter-like look of the 80s.
A likely hit for Cruise but will unlikely bring in new fans or be fondly remembered in a few years. But at least it proved that Cruise and Liman are a great team and that hopefully bodes well for the much-anticipated sequel to "Edge of Tomorrow".