There were some great spoofs back in the day: Airplane!, Top Secret!, The Naked Gun. Hot Shots: Part Deux, I recall being pretty good also. But as for the original Hot Shots! nothing rang a bell expect that it was a Top Gun piss-take and that Charlie Sheen was once again the lead.
One re-watch later and, although Hot Shots! does have its amusing moments, I wouldn't list it on the same level as the aforementioned bunch. Maybe I've just grown-up or maybe a lot of the humour hasn't dated terribly well, I don't know. Watching it now, it was more miss than hit I felt. One of the jokes sees an old Native American dude listening to a walkman and asking Sheen to bring back some AA batteries. I guess back then that was like the equivalent of an iPod reference or something (for the kids?). Thing is: random "modern" technology references in spoofs are rarely funny, they're just... there. Remember those ads the Scary Movie gang parodied in their franchise?
Yeah, wasn't that hilarious and relevant?
There's also a lot of slapstick and although the ever reliable Lloyd Bridges nails whatever nonsense he's made to do here, a lot of the times someone just falls or bumps into something and it's honestly a bit lame. That said, there are those in this movie that, along with Bridges, do a decent job: Sheen is on good deadpan form, Valeria Golino clearly has a ball and Cary Elwes, although he is criminally underused here, is a genius whenever he pops up. It's good fun but for a spoof of Top Gun, a classic Hollywood cheese-fest, this is pretty tame. It's not quite as mean-spirited as it could/should have been. Remember Wrongfully Accused with Leslie Nielsen? Ok, maybe that wasn't the best parody out there but at least it didn't hold anything back, The Fugitive got its ass handed to it in that movie!
Visually, the film gets it mostly right from the classy (if, of course, dumb) sunset-full opening to the goofy plane sequences although more posing to the camera wouldn't have gone amiss not to mention more Days Of Thunder references, after all, that was basically Top Gun with cars, right? Highlights include a stupid bike vs horse encounter, a heroic plane rescue attempt, some quality Elwes on Sheen smack talk, the obligatory absurd OTT sex scene and a weirdly good deflating guy effect near the end.
Overall, Hot Shots! fails to hold up as one of the best movie parodies around and yet it boasts enough likeable silliness and a cast worthy enough to still be an entertaining hit-and-miss effort. I have a feeling its sequel will hold up much better but, as it stands, this first instalment is hardly memorable.
Unless you're a fan of Two And A Half Men, in which case you're in for a treat...