The Rocketeer

Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) is a crack pilot training for the air racing nationals who has a bad case of the wrong place/wrong times. When testing out his plane, he flies over a shootout between mobsters and G-Men. In the end, his plane gets trashed, he is on the hook to pay for an exploded fuel truck, and he’ll have to put on a clown costume to earn enough money to settle his debts. But wait, what’s that underneath his plane’s seat? Why it’s Howard Hughes’s jetpack superweapon that the Nazis will do anything to get their hands on, and the FBI is racing to track it down first.

Naturally, Cliff takes to the skies and becomes a superhMV5BYzM3Mjk5MTktNzcyZC00MWVlLWEwNzEtOTkyNDYxNjRiNWNlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTEwODg2MDY@._V1_ero, with the help of his engineer Peevy (Alan Arkin). But in doing so, Cliff attracts the attention of the Nazis and mobsters, and before you know it Cliff’s girlfriend Jenny (Jennifer Connelly) needs rescuing. It’s up to Cliff to hold onto his jetpack long enough to save Jenny and, I guess, also save America.

I hadn’t seen this movie since the 90s and what stuck with me after this recent viewing is how badly the Rocketeer’s effects have aged. They probably weren’t great even at the time but now they just look sad.

But in a way, the bad effects are kind of fitting, because this film’s whole raison d’être is nostalgia, and the clumsy effects feel like a remnant of that same bygone era. The COMICS-NAZISRocketeer is a throwback to that fabled time in America’s history where men were men, women were eye candy, the good guys always won, and even criminals were too patriotic to work for Nazis. It’s the cinematic version of Captain America punching Hitler in the face. Cue the flag waving and tears of pride.

12 thoughts on “The Rocketeer

  1. Invisibly Me

    For the record, I would love to see Captain America punch Hitler in the face. But in real life, not graphic novel format. Quite like the sound of this flick for being a bit different, will add to my to-watch list.
    Caz x

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  2. leendadll

    Weird… over the weekend I was trying to remember the name of this film… and here it is! I never saw it. I happened to drive by a late night shoot in the Hollywood Hills and went back to watch them film.

    Thanks for filling my brain gap!!

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  3. ninvoid99

    I still liked this film. I liked it when I saw it in the theaters and I still think it holds up though the visual effects at times are a bit wonky but it’s still better than some of the shit that happens with CGI.

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  4. Jade

    Part of me wants to watch this, if only to see how much cinema has evolved since then. And I wonder if there would ever be a remake. Your move, Disney!

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  5. J.

    I haven’t seen this in about 20 years, but I liked it at the time and remember quite liking it when I last watched it. It had a particular charm – that whole adventure thing – and I actually wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

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