Top Gun – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Top Gun

Top Gun, to this day, features some of the best dogfighting scenes in Hollywood history. It’s fast, hectic, and most of all thrilling. It feels as if you’re a part of the action and that’s why Top Gun is so great.

It also features a wide array of likable characters like Maverick, Goose, Iceman, Slider, Wolfman, Sun Down, and more. Sure, it also helps that some of these call signs are awesome as well. Each one has a distinct personality but the film primarily focuses on the relationship between Maverick and Goose and Maverick’s rivalry with Iceman.

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There’s no real reason to like a hot-headed scoundrel like Maverick but Tom Cruise uses his charisma and charm to get audiences to like him. In a way, he channels his inner Han Solo for this kind of role. After all, he’s a hotshot pilot who thinks very highly of himself—just like Han Solo.

But the glue that holds everything together is the lovable best friend of Maverick, Goose. The Chewie to Maverick’s Han Solo. Anthony Edwards keeps Maverick in check and keeps things light by cracking jokes here and there. That’s what makes his story arc so tragic. Yet it’s needed to humanize Maverick more. 

Unfortunately, that’s all of the character arcs that the Top Gun has in its entirety. The rest of the large crew of characters don’t get much of a backstory or layers.

It must also be said how much Kenny Loggins, Berlin, and Harold Faltermeyer’s music has helped with the iconizing of the film. After all, how many times have you heard Sterling Archer reference Danger Zone in the animated series? The music is just another element in making Top Gun a classic.

Overall, Top Gun is a film that still holds up to this very day. The characters, the aerial dogfighting scenes, and performances are the elements that make Top Gun a classic. Sure, there are story and character depth issues but the film overcomes them through the film’s sheer entertainment.

Movie Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Video

Top Gun - Kelly McGinnis and Tom Cruise

Top Gun hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR transfer and a 2.40:1 aspect ratio. The picture looks decent for a film shot in the mid-80s. There’s a good contrast which does give some depth to the slightly dated-looking picture. Although there’s surprisingly not a ton of bright highlights in the picture, the whites are very vibrant in the film. Since this is a Tony Scott film and he loves using a warm color temperature, the dark areas of the picture have a very warm tint to it. The colors, in turn, have a warm natural saturation to them.

Since the film is over two decades old, there are some scenes where the film looks dated and a bit out of focus. Also, the film grain is very noticeable too. However, clear scenes do have crisp edges. Also, the littlest things like the massive sweat on some of the actors can be seen. Overall, this is a good-looking picture despite some of the flaws from the source material.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Audio

Top Gun - Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Michael Ironside, and Tom Skerritt

Top Gun hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Top Gun‘s Dolby Atmos track. Although the video is a bit of a disappointment, the Dolby Atmos mix is where the Top Gun 4K release truly shines. The audio mix is loud and in-your-face but the mix also allows you to hear more of the subtle movement of sound through the soundstage. This is something you can surprisingly hear during the boisterous dogfighting scenes. But because of the loudness of the mix, you might not be able to distinctly hear the overhead sound during the dogfighting scenes. Luckily, the audio mix uses the overhead speakers to play off the atmospheric noises of Miramar.

Also, the music envelops you and thankfully, this is something you can hear during Kenny Loggins’ iconic Danger Zone. Harold Faltermeyer’s score also fills the soundstage but not in a dynamic way. Unsurprisingly, a few of the dialogue sounds a bit low-quality but that’s mostly because of the source material. The rest of the dialogue sounds clear and distinct. When it comes to the subwoofer, the LFEs doesn’t show up until the climactic battle against the Russian MiGs. Overall, this is a grand audio mix.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Special Features

Top Gun - Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, and Rick Rossovich

Top Gun has the following special features on the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc:

  • The Legacy of Top Gun
  • On Your Six – Thirty Years of Top Gun
    • Looking Back
    • America’s Best
    • Into the Danger Zone
    • Going Ballistic
    • Narrow Targets and the Future
  • Commentary by Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Director Tony Scott, Co-Screenwriter Jack Epps, Jr., and Naval Experts

The feature above and the ones below can be found on the regular Blu-ray disc:

  • Danger Zone: The Making of Top Gun
    • From the Ground Up – Pre-Production
    • Playing with the Boys – Production: Land and Sea
    • The Need for Speed – Production: Air
    • Back to Basics – Visual Effects
    • Combat Rock – The Music of Top Gun
    • Afterburn – Release and Impact
  • Multi-Angle Storyboards
    • Flat Spin
    • Jester’s Dead
  • Best of the Best: Inside the Real Top Gun
  • Music Videos
  • Original Theatrical Promotional Material

The audio commentary splices up the commentary between each of the four groups of people. That means that there’s not a moment of silence in the entire commentary. It’s great because this commentary gives so much information about the film including some inside military information from the naval experts and behind-the-scenes stories from Bruckheimer, Scott, and Epps, Jr. The hilarious thing is that director Tony Scott does talk about Kelly McGinnis a lot during the early part of the commentary—so be prepared for that.

“The Legacy of Top Gun” is simply a featurette where the cast of Top Gun: Maverick talks about their love for the original film. So yes, it’s a promotional piece for the film’s upcoming sequel. The 30-year retrospective you’re probably looking for lies with “On Your Six.” The feature is incredibly well-done and offers so many behind-the-scenes pictures and ton of rarely told (and hilarious) stories.

Tom has an incredible memory so seeing him telling all these stories is so fascinating and so hilarious. His hurling story with “Bozo” is easily one of the best stories in the entire feature. It’s a feature that every Top Gun fan should watch. Unfortunately, the featurette is strictly limited to Jerry Bruckheimer and Tom Cruise. No other actor from the original film is in this feature. Nevertheless, Tom Cruise talking about his time in the film is so engaging.

The rest of the featurettes in this release are legacy bonus features from the DVD release. “Danger Zone” is a lengthy two-and-a-half-hour legacy featurette so there’s a strong chance you’ve seen this featurette already. If you haven’t, the feature is dated but the featurette does give you a ton of information about the making of the film. “Multi-Angle Storyboards” is another legacy feature that’s a bit boring without the optional commentary by Tony Scott. The commentary gives perspective on his thought process in these storyboards. “Best of the Best” is an interesting feature if you’ve wanted to know what the real-life Top Gun school is like.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Top Gun is still one of the best 80s action films of all-time. To this day, the music, one-liners, are characters are iconic and recognizable and a strong part of our consciousness. There’s just something undeniably special about watching the dogfighting scenes in the film too. The video transfer is pristine despite some of the issues from the source material and the audio mix is in-your-face and immersive. Unfortunately, the new bonus materials are simply promotional features for Top Gun: Maverick but the 30-year retrospective is still a must-watch for any Top Gun fan.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1615 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.