Movie Review: The Rocketeer (1991)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1991 movie starring Billy Campbell and Jennifer Connelly.

Synopsis: In 1938, a down-on-his-luck pilot discovers a stolen rocket pack that was hidden in his hangar by gangsters. Despite being advised to turn the rocket pack into the authorities, he elects to “borrow” it so he can put on a show and raise money to fix his recently damaged plane. Instead, he inadvertently becomes a hero when he uses the rocket pack to save another pilot, something that draws the attention of a Nazi spy looking to steal the device for Adolf Hitler.


I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen this particular movie. However, it had been a while since I had watched the film in its entirety and, because of that, I recently recorded it when it was on one of my movie channels and watched it (over the course of three days) in the morning before work. After seeing the film from start to finish again, it remains one of my favorite comic-booked-inspired movies.

The thing I like about this movie is it doesn’t try to do anything overly complicated or unbelievable. The hero, Cliff (Campbell), doesn’t have any special powers or even anything that remotely resembles some sort of super weapon. All he has is a rocket pack, helmet and, eventually, a gun.

In fact, he doesn’t even really want to be a hero. He just chooses to do the right thing, especially when it means saving his girlfriend, Jenny (Connelly) from the clutches of actor/spy Neville Sinclair (Dalton) and his henchmen. This does make his character much easier to relate to and does keep the movie a little more exciting to watch.

Even the characters themselves are surprisingly grounded. A lot of times movies that are based on comic books tend to go a bit overboard with the characters. This one, again, kept things simple and the only character that even seems like he belongs in a comic book is the giant Lothar (Tiny Ron Taylor). Again, the fact the characters and the plot in general are somewhat believable and plausible does keep the movie much more interesting to watch.

Final Opinion

I’m not normally a huge fan of movies that are inspired by comic books, but this one is definitely an exception to that. As I mentioned, I’ve seen it countless times already and will likely have to watch it again just so I can introduce my kids to it.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 07/16/2015, StevenHelmer
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