Review: Air America

Blu-ray: Air America (1990)

Young pilot Billy Covington (Robert Downey Jr.) is reckless and doesn’t take orders too well, so when he loses his job and is recruited into a shady organisation running secret missions for the CIA in Laos during the Vietnam war, he is not too keen to be taking orders from Air America veteran Gene Ryack (Mel Gibson). As the chaos around them worsens, Billy and Gene are forced into an unlikely alliance to ensure their survival.

Both Gibson and Downey Jr. have had rollercoaster careers where the highs (in many senses of the word) were high, and the lows were usually splattered all over the front page of the gossip rags. In Air America they are both in fine form, and once getting past the usual “Ooooh, don’t they look young” comment that is usually uttered when watching something from 25+ years ago, it gives almost 2 hours of fun entertainment where nothing particularly stands out, but nothing is annoying either.

There are some good aerial shots where the aircraft really are in the sky and not the CGI stuff we are all too used to nowadays, while the action is lighthearted, which matches the dialogue and general tone of the movie. Though the storyline can get a little drawn out at times, it is never enough that you lose interest in what is happening.

The onscreen relationship between Gibson and Downey Jr. is very watchable, though not to the extent of Mel and Danny Glover in Lethal Weapon. See if you can spot an uncredited Michael Dudikoff too.

With a plethora of ‘buddy action/comedy’ movies still hitting the screens to this day, Air America went by virtually unnoticed back in 1990 and was not a big box office hit. This Blu-ray release from Umbrella Entertainment is the ideal way to either reacquaint yourself with 2 hours of solid entertainment, or treat yourself to a first time viewing…just be prepared to say “Ooooh, don’t they look young” .

Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Umbrella Entertainment.