Quite an absorbing movie, "Space Cowboys" is both directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, and it certainly qualifies as one of the more enjoyable movies to come out in quite some time.
In 1958, four of the top American Air Force pilots, after undergoing strenuous training to be the first Americans to fly into space as Team Daedalus, had to watch a chimpanzee get the honour instead. Forty years later, the Russian satellite Ikon suffers a system failure and NASA bureaucrat Bob Gerson (James Cromwell) has no option but to bring in the services of the retired engineer of Team Daedalus, Frank Corvin (Clint Eastwood), who refuses to extend his services without bringing in the rest of the original team. The deal is struck and daredevil Hawk Hawkins (Tommy Lee Jones), absent-minded Baptist Tank Sullivan (James Garner), and babe magnet Jerry O' Neil (Donald Sutherland) get geared up to fulfill their long cherished dream of making it into space.
The acting is brilliant, but then that is only to be expected, when one considers the heavy-duty star cast. The cameo by Jay Leno, I felt, was a nice touch. The script is excellent, filled with crisp dialogues occasionally sprinkled with snappy one liners. The four lackeys are invested with diverse personalities, and these veteran actors seem to have managed to retain them with little visible effort.
Donald Sutherland is especially charming in his role of a babe magnet. Though, in hindsight, the thought of four senior citizens actually making it into space on such a critical and rigorous mission seems a little too fantastical, it is almost believable during the two-hour duration, and I suppose that is what actually counts.
Slickly directed, the film flows well. Being moderately fast paced, it ensures that the audience's attention never flags. The sets are fantastic; in fact, the production team collaborated with NASA for the technical aspects to give it a touch of reality, and the outer space segments were filmed at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida.
An extremely absorbing movie which tests the strength of true camaraderie, "Space Cowboys" is definitely worth your time.This article was first published on 03 Jan 2001.