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Directed by Clint Eastwood
Running Time: 2:15
Rated PG-13 for some language.

While not totally the light-hearted comedy I thought it was going to be, Space Cowboys did have some funny moments, it had some serious moments, and it had some what I thought were absurd moments. Overall though, an enjoyable enough movie.

In 1958 4 test pilots with the Air Force were ready to become the first Americans in outer space. Then, with the creation of NASA, a new American was chosen. A monkey. Flash forward 40 years later. A Russian telecommunications satellite is losing it's orbit, and needs to be repaired. The only person alive that can fix it, is the creator of the guidance system on the spacecraft, Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood), and his original crew from 40 years ago: Hawk Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones), Jerry O'Neil (Donald Sutherland), and Tank Sullivan (James Garner). In their way this time, as he was 40 years earlier, is Bob Gerson (James Cromwell), the one who scrubbed them 40 years ago, and the one determined to scrub them this time. However when the newspapers pick up on the 4 70 year old that are going in to space, they become national heroes and Gerson is forced to allow them up. But when they reach the satellite, they find something wrong. Something that could destroy Gerson and his career, but also destroy the planet as we know it.

The one thing I have to say I really liked about this movie, is that in the beginning when they show the characters 40 years earlier, the director did something I've never seen (or heard) before. He used the present day voices, but dubbed them over the younger versions of the actors. So you see someone else playing a young Clint Eastwood, but you hear Clint's voice. I love that because it helps you associate the characters with people you know, and when 5 minutes later you're pushed into present day, you know who did what in the past. I enjoyed the characters as well. I read an article recently that said if you put any of these actors in a movie by themselves, they might not be able to carry a movie by themselves any more (Clint and Tommy Lee might be able to, the others certainly can't). But you throw all of them in together, and you've got inspired casting. I've never really been a big fan of Sutherland before, but I enjoyed him here as the ladies man of the group. Tommy Lee and Clint had a good relationship on screen that was the heart of the film, and that came across very strongly.

The downside of the film is that you could see where it was going from the start. There wasn't any real surprises throughout, even though the secret on the telecommunications satellite was supposed to be a big deal. It was just too obvious from the opening that everything wasn't as it seemed. And once something is revealed to be wrong with one of the astronauts, you knew perfectly well what was going to end up happening to him as well. There were some funny moments, and a lot of it obviously dealt with the age of these 4 guys. I didn't really like the been there done that old guy young woman love story that developed, because once again, it was fairly obvious that was going to happen. The movie started off as being a comedy, but when things headed for outer space, it got very serious. It was like you were watching Apollo 13. And while it may or may not be possible, the last shot of the movie, and the events leading up to it I felt were a little out of the realm of possibilty. But then again, who knows?

But for what it was, obvious story lines or not, I thought it was an enjoyable movie. The 4 stars did a good job with their characters, and it was fun watching them play off of each other. The soundtrack was cool as well, and the supporting cast did a decent if not memorable job. I did notice that in this movie there were a lot more women working in NASA than you've seen in other space related films. But maybe that's just me. So overall I thought Space Cowboys was a decent and enjoyable film. Nothing special, but a good time none the less.

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Text Version

reviewed 08/13/00

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