Benjamin is a former volunteer DJ at his local hospital radio station. He has been reviewing films online for over fifteen years. Top Secret! This time, the film is a parody of World War 2 spy films as well as the musical films of Elvis Presley and concerns a rock and roll singer in East Germany who finds himself mixed up with the local French Resistance.
The directing trio known as ZAZ would later go on to have more success with The Naked Gun series of films before going their separate ways. Rock and roll pioneer Nick Rivers travels with his manager to East Germany which retains many aspects of Hitler's regime to perform at a cultural festival put on by the authorities. However, the festival is designed to divert attention away from a military operation designed to reunite Germany under a revived Third Reich.
Rivers, knowing little of the culture, attends a dinner where he stumbles into the company of Hillary Flammond, a member of the local French Resistance. Seeing that she is in trouble with the authorities, they quickly escape. Bumping into each other again at a ballet, Rivers finds himself arrested after helping Hillary to flee once again.
While incarcerated, he discovers Hillary's scientist father who has been coerced into making a superweapon for the Nazis whilst believing his daughter to be in custody.
After a performance at the festival, Rivers meets up with Hillary and tells her that her father is still alive. Anyone who enjoyed the manic comic pace of Airplane! The film employs a variety of sight gags, slapstick, witty dialogue and zany humour to extract as many laughs as possible from the material and most of the time, the film is a riot. Kilmer impresses as Nick Rivers, displaying a great sense of comic timing that we rarely see these days.
Alongside a supporting cast that throws caution to the wind, the film delivers a wacky war film that dispenses with any sense of logic or cohesion. It exists purely to make you laugh and it succeeds. However, there is more to it than that.
It also feels more inventive than Airplane! If you suit this kind of goofy humour then Top Secret! Whether it's the passing of time or the increasing maturity of this viewer well, relatively speaking , Top Secret!
Some of the humour has dated quite badly such as the somewhat suggestive love song Rivers sings to a girl who looks to be about The film occasionally strays from being saucy to being downright sordid and illustrates the apparent lure for comedic films from Hollywood towards being overly bawdy.
The woman on the beach who leaves two craters in the sand where her boobs were is saucy - being sucked off by a calf before being sodomised by a bull is too far in the other direction. What also works against the film is the somewhat confusing setting.
Yes, I know that it's a spoof and not a documentary - nobody is going to watch this film for the narrative. But the combination of World War 2 with Fifties' surf movie musicals is slightly jarring although it doesn't distract too much.
But it maybe prevents audiences from investing in the film too much. If Elvis had decided to do a war film then I suspect it might have looked a little like this but as it is, Top Secret! It's unfortunate that the film exists alongside iconic parodies such as Airplane!
But the film's hilarious soundtrack, it's relentless pursuit of a laugh and the performances from the cast Kilmer especially make the film far greater than you might suppose. Ironically, the film has become something of a secret gem itself and one that any fans of parody films owe to themselves to watch.
Spoof films are a fairly rare breed and finding a good one is even rarer. Generally speaking, ZAZ are the acknowledged masters of the sub-genre with the aforementioned Airplane! Recruiting Leslie Nielsen again for their TV show Police Squad which was criminally cancelled after just six episodes , incompetent detective Frank Drebin would return in The Naked Gun - a film so good that it would spawn two sequels, although these follow the Law of Diminishing Returns in terms of quality.
These days, parody films aren't as focused as earlier efforts and often target whatever films happen to be successful at the time, regardless of genre. Such critically reviled efforts like Disaster Movie and Epic Movie have such a scattershot approach to comedy that nothing is funny and display a chronic shortfall in wit and imagination.
Probably the last great spoof was Hot Shots! Taking aim at action movies like Top Gun , the film doesn't exactly shoot it between the eyes but it does hit the target more often than not. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
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Should I Watch..? Benjamin Cox more. What's the big deal? Enjoyable Rate Me! What's it about? Main Cast Actor. Technical Info Directors. What's to like? Fun Facts Although the film marked Kilmer's cinematic debut, it was the last appearance in an American movie for Peter Cushing. Incidentally, the extensive prosthetics Cushing wears required a life-mask of his face. Much of the German spoken in the film is actually Yiddish. For example, the train conductor asking for tickets is roughly saying "may you grow like an onion, with your head in the ground.
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