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SPACE COWBOYS (PG-13)
Reviewed August 5, 2000 - Check out the Space Cowboys Website.
Studio Synopsis: In 1958, the members of Team Daedalus, a group of top Air Force test pilots, were ready to serve their country as the first Americans in space. When NASA replaced the Air Force for outer atmospheric testing, Team Daedalus was pushed aside and a chimpanzee got the honor. The team retired, but the dream of going into space never died.
Now, over four decades later, the Russian satellite Ikon has suffered a systems failure that Russian officials insist will cause a total communications blackout in their country. NASA bureaucrat Bob Gerson (James Cromwell) stumbles toward a solution – and finds it in a very unexpected place. Since Ikon has the same guidance system as early American satellite Skylab, Skylab's designer should know how to fix Ikon.
Now retired, Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood) is the one man alive who can do the job. This is the chance of a lifetime to finally go into space … but Frank won't take it unless he can surround himself with the only crew he trusts.
Team Daedalus is back in action.
Frank, Hawk Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones), Jerry O'Neil (Donald Sutherland) and Tank Sullivan (James Garner) relish the opportunity to show their stuff. Seasoned veterans with an attitude, the team stretches the rules and strains the patience of Eugene Davis (William Devane), their Flight Director, as well as their much younger counterparts, Ethan Glance (Loren Dean) and Roger Hines (Courtney B. Vance).
They will need every ounce of strength and resourcefulness to make it through their abbreviated training, complete their mission and rescue Ikon. The heroic challenge has arrived.
Fuzzydog Review: Space Cowboys is one of those films that simply floats on charisma. Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, James Garner and Donald Sutherland each have enough screen presence to make a movie fly on their own. As a team then (and in the context of a space adventure), you can imagine the kind of chemistry this group can engender. No question here: Space Cowboys is likeable, fun and entertaining...and it's due in no small part to the charms of its four main stars.
As likeable as it is, however, this film also suffers from a number of serious weaknesses which I'll just briefly note. Beyond the fact that the premise and progression of the plot are incredibly hard to swallow, there's a certain dramatic punch that's missing from this film. Eastwood, though not bad in this role, isn't as strong as we've seen him. The inevitable space crisis sequence, though well-paced, pales in comparison to the drama presented in Apollo 13. Unfair comparison perhaps, but I'll do it anyway. Don't get me wrong, Space Cowboys is not a "bad" film...it's just not particularly noteworthy either. If it weren't for the star power provided by its four main characters, this film may never have gotten off the ground at all...
Responses from cyberspace--thanks for writing!
email@example.com gives this movie stars: "Some funny parts. The story was stupid and too many things about it aren't true in real life. Space Cowboys starts as a comedy, gets more serious, and in the end is an overly avergae, already-done-before film only with 4 old geezers (although one looks to be in like his late 40's, while the other look to be in their mid 60's. Weird.) The romantic sidestory, uh, totaly sucked carcase." (10/28/00)
firstname.lastname@example.org gives this movie stars: "I enjoyed this movie mostly because of the stars and the Houston NASA sequences - I've been there many times. I had some problems with the story line and the loose ends were not tied together at the end. Such as - are there no consequences for certain players who obviously had not been forthcoming with important information. Also - the music at the end was too, too, something. It just did not fit for me. Overall a good movie because of the actors. Could have been better. " (8/12/00)