Anyone remember Commander Cody and his lost planet airmen aka Radar Men from the Moon? As a kid my father picked up the VHS of the serial from the Video store. Cheesy campy everything you would expect from a serial. I do think that fateful week with a high fever and nothing better to do, but watch those and read Nintendo Power, had an effect on me..
Today though we are talking about the Rocketeer, though Flash Gordon will, more than likely, be a later entry for review.. Both have Timothy Dalton, in non James Bond roles… and honestly who could hate the Queen Soundtrack not to mention Richard O’Brien is also in it.
I am thinking that the Rocketeer is the first of the 90’s throw backs right? Not a serial per say, but based on a graphic novel that was heavily influenced by them. A trend followed by the Phantom, and the Shadow, eventually giving us The Spirit and Sin City (I can only wish there was a Sin City serial, but the graphic novels are close enough)…
The plot is generic enough, barely scraping by plucky stunt man and his wiz bang mechanic? Find a proto type rocket pack designed by pre ODC Howard Hughes. It very well could have been Howard Stark, seeing as how the two of them pretty much invented everything there is to invent gadget wise, but then we would be in Avengers territory. Of course that being said, what shows up on the first page of the google image search for “the rocketeer” besides the cos-plays? this mash-up..
Now remember this being the 30’s / 40’s of course Hitler and / or the mob want it for their own use. Then you get the action, the fighting on top of a giant zeppelin, Which after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, who can get enough of. No Ticket!
The Film climaxes with the evil flying Nazi baddy ending up as a fire ball who proceeds to crash into the last 4 letters of the Hollywoodland sign, giving us the Hollywood back drop we now all know and love..
I am not sure if I love or hate the heavy-handed go America bits, I mean they are awful lines but they fit the mood so well (like something out of the banned Looney Toons cartoons..) That classic moment when the mobsters find out they were helping Nazi’s and start shooting at them alongside the FBI, of course they have to look at each other, and nod and return to laying waste to some Hollywood mansion.
I mean come on, you get Paul Sorvino saying “It matters to me. I may not make an honest buck, but I’m 100% American. I don’t work for no two-bit Nazi.” Followed by Dalton yelling orders in German.. you have to love it.
So what to enjoy while watching such a good old-time throw back of a film. I am sticking with the classics and saying, in the words of (and you should be reading it in his voice, I sure am) Red: “[a] … cold, Bohemia-style beer, courtesy of the hardest screw that ever walked a turn at Shawshank State Prison..”
In my case I am sticking localish with Victory Prima Pils, but feel free to treat yourself to your favorite.