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The Rocketeer

The Rocketeer (1991)

June. 21,1991
| Adventure Action Science Fiction Family

A stunt pilot comes across a prototype jetpack that gives him the ability to fly. However, evil forces of the world also want this jetpack at any cost.


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It's 1939. Howard Hughes (Terry O'Quinn) loses his rocket pack prototype and decides to abandon the project. Actor Neville Sinclair (Timothy Dalton) hired gangster Eddie Valentine (Paul Sorvino) to steal it. Sinclair's thugs are chased by government agents and leave the rocket in a plane. Pilot Cliff Secord (Billy Campbell) and mechanic Peevy (Alan Arkin) find it and start adapting it. Cliff's girlfriend Jenny Blake (Jennifer Connelly) has a bit part in Neville's latest film. After a heroic rescue, the Rocketeer becomes a media sensation. Eddie finds Jenny's picture and Neville kidnaps her. He turns out to be a secret Nazi agent.It's all very old-fashion and undeniably Disney PG. It has a certain charm and a goodness in its classic comic book style. It does need a little bit more action and less of the setups. In that way, this is also somewhat old fashion. Campbell, Connelly, Dalton, Arkin, and Sorvino are all perfectly cast. It's a fine old style action adventure.


This is one of those that Everybody Missed. Critics and Audiences were Lukewarm about this Fantastic, Fun, Family Film. What it lacks in Edge it makes up for in Warm, Vibrant, Stylish, Retro Art Deco Appeal.Nostalgia plays an important part in the Enjoyment of the Movie. Dave Stevens Comics were all about Nostalgia. The Thirties Serials, Hollywood Stars, and of course Betty Page. Jennifer Connelly Plays "Bettie Page" the Rocketeer's Girlfriend (although the name was changed) and Curvacious Pin-Up Queen.The rest of the Cast is Highlighted by some Good Actors like Timothy Dalton as an Errol Flynn Type, Paul Sorvino as a Patriotic Gangster, and Alan Arkin as the Titular Character's Mentor and Friend. Kudos must also be Awarded to Terry O' Quinn as Howard Hughes.Billy Campbell makes for a Stiff Lead, but it is the Production Design and Innocent Appeal that is the Charm of the Underrated Film. It Looks Great and captures the Time precisely. Even the Mood is Right. Maybe not the Mood of the Real World of the Late Thirties but certainly the Mood of Hollywood Films at the Time.There are Nazis, Hydrogen Blimps, spitting Machine Guns, Cool and Sleek Little Airplanes Zipping about, and of course the Rocket Pack that was on the Minds of Inventors and Pulp Sci-Fi Fanatics of the Era. There are other Details thrown in for Fun, like a Rondo Hatton (The Creeper) Lookalike, the Hollywoodland, OOOPS, Hollywood Sign, and More for the discovering Movie Goer. This Film along with "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" (2004) are Noble Box-Office Failures that are sure to, and have, found additional Fans as the Years Tick By. They are Entertaining Films with a Quality and wide Appeal that are Not as Common as They should be.


Typical Disney Fluff. If you are a Disney Fan - go for it. I - however - would much rather watch King of the Rocket Men (1949) - because despite all of these years I still find it enjoyable. Special Effects - Nazi Zeppelins and Exploding Rocket Packs - don't always make for a superior movie. The plot was not too technical - because - I suspect that if one were to use one's head as a rudder - (rudder built into helmet) - while zooming along at 100 miles an hour - one would snap one's head off. But - it is what it is and probably would be a nice film for kids. The acting was understandably restrained with the actors holding back - probably due to its PG-13 rating. A nice family film - but - give King of the Rocket Men a try some rainy Saturday Afternoon.

Anssi Vartiainen

The Rocketeer is a surprisingly good action/adventure film with wonderful pulp nostalgia. The film is based on an old comic book character and that's exactly how it feels, in the best possible way. It simply just reeks that old American nostalgia where men were men and woman had enough sass and spunk to power whole steamboats.For me it's the characters that make this film. Timothy Dalton plays the perfect guile villain, Neville Sinclair, the most charismatically slimy Hollywood lead actor of all time. Every time he flashed that billion dollar toothpaste smile of his, you just want to punch the guy, while hiding your girlfriend and shaking his hand. In a sense, a villain you love to hate and hate to love. Wonderful role performance, easily the best in the whole film.I was also pleasantly surprised by the side characters. Alan Arkin's Peevy Peabody is what I would imagine a poor and more down to earth Tony Stark to be like. A genius engineer, yet his presence fills the screen and when he starts talking, you stop and listen. The same with Jennifer Connelly's Jenny Blake, but in a whole different way. I can see why Neville falls for the girl instantly, and not just because she has some information that he wants. I mean that face and that smile... Good heavens.Unfortunately pretty much the only character that did very little to me is the main character, The Rocketeer himself, played by Billy Campbell. He has this whole nice neighborhood guy thing going for him, but it's a bit too nice, if you follow. The man leaves very small impression and isn't quite identifiable or unique enough to stand apart from other adventure stock characters just like him.But luckily the rest of the cast and the rest of the movie as a whole are more than capable to keep your interests raised and to provide you with a charming adventure with surprisingly decent special effects for their time, some great action sequences and that whole early 20th century charisma. If you like pulp settings, great adventure films and charismatic actors, this is definitely a film worth checking out.