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Hot Shots! Reviews

HOT SHOTS! spoofs not only flyboy films in general, but kids the pants off at least a half-dozen famous movies, including the likes of GONE WITH THE WIND, DANCES WITH WOLVES, THE FABULOUS BAKER BOYS, DINER and even the infamous 9 1/2 WEEKS. At its core, however, HOT SHOTS! is a blatant sendup of the Tom Cruise smash TOP GUN and the names of the various ace flyboy characters help to set the mood for the off-the-wall humor to come. There's the obviously ill-fated Pete "Dead Meat" Thompson (William O'Leary) and an ace pilot suffering from a malady known as "walleye vision" named Jim "Wash Out" Pfaffenbach (Jon Cryer). The major "hot shot" is Sean "Topper" Harley (Charlie Sheen), while his nemesis--both in matters of the heart and in the air--is ace narcissist Kent Gregory (Cary Elwes), the very model of military perfection--or so he likes to think. The flyboys are rousingly led by blustery multi-war veteran, Admiral "Tug" Benson (Lloyd Bridges), a pratfall-prone, "Damn the torpedoes..." type leader who, through the years, has had just about every part of his body replaced, due to a spectacular series of inept combat injuries. When Topper and Kent aren't snarling at each other through clenched teeth in the air, they're snarling at each other with clenched fists on the ground. Kent blames Topper's ace pilot father for causing the death of his own dad years before in a freak airplane accident. Kent is also Topper's chief rival for the affections of the alluring base psychiatrist, equestrienne, sculptor and torch singer, Ramada Thompson (Valeria Golino). While the slapstick comedy antics are frequently amusing and, on rare occasions, even hilarious, HOT SHOTS!, like so many other cinematic parodies before it, tends to lose sight--or control--of the plot, such as it is, in favor of more jokes, more visual gags and more dialogue puns--all hurled at the audience at a rapid-fire pace.