Projections - Movie Reviews

Space Cowboys Space Cowboys

Clint Eastwood's direction is perfect, both in the humorous introductory first half and the dizzying space action which fills the conclusion of Space Cowboys.

Eastwood's fine hand allows us to laugh at the four over the hill Air Force test pilots who are called back to NASA to help correct the decaying orbit of an old USSR space satellite which is strangely powered by a computer system developed by Eastwood's Frank Corvin.  Each of the characters are allowed to appear confident in their responsibilities even with the limitations of  age.  All of which appear to be a reflection of Eastwood's comfort with his maturity and the satisfaction which allows one to laugh at weaknesses which might have been embarrassing in younger days.

Eastwood is joined by three other remarkable older actors who bring the same flair for comedy and action to the script.  Tommy Lee Jones as Hawk Hawkins, Donald Sutherland as Jerry O'Neil and James Garner as Tank Sullivan join Eastwood's Corvin battling through the tough NASA training.  Sutherland's O'Neil has the most fun; he is a ladies man and proves it in the medical examination room as well as on the dance floor.  He also trips up the conniving NASA bureaucrat Bob Gerson (James Cromwell) by memorizing the eye test chart which he can't see.

We see each of the four former candidates for space flight, living lives far from the space program, each privately harboring the desire to go into space.  After all if John Glenn could do it why can't these seventy year old healthy men do it?  They are ready to take on the nasty Bob Gerson who took their chance for space flight away in 1958.  It's what they don't know about the mission that causes the dangerous exciting action in orbit above the Earth, and gives each of the senior citizens an opportunity to strut their stuff.  All of the heroes reach the heights they hope for, and Tommy Lee's Hawk beats out Eastwood's Corvin in an ironic twist of fate.

With its mix of humor and action, Space Cowboys is the most satisfying film of the Summer.

Space Cowboys
A Top Ten pick for 2000

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