That old world brawn!
It's a man's world, after all.
I mean they get to watch the antics of three curvy and leggy women in Charlie's Angels.
While the fairer sex gets stuck with the geriatric capers of four over-the-hill, visibly aged men to watch in Space Cowboys.
But if these four senior citizens happen to be the inimitable Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and James Garner, no one's complaining. The ease and charm these actors possess counteract almost all of the film's inadequacies.
It all begins in 1958. An Air Force group, Team Daedalus -- Frank Corvin (Eastwood), Hawk Hawkins (Jones), Jerry O'Neill (Sutherland) and Tank Sullivan (Garner) -- is scheduled for space travel only to be replaced by NASA in favour of a chimp.
Flash forward four decades after this professionally humiliating experience to NASA, in the form of bureaucrat Bob Gerson (James Cromwell), who recruits the quartet to salvage an old Soviet satellite that's lost in space.
The deal? The quartet has to meet the health specifications of counterparts half their age and thrice their fitness levels.
Enter the most entertaining part of the film: Their reunion and training sessions that combine geriatric humor and their natural charisma. Their ambitions are further fueled by a disbelieving flight director Eugene Davis (William Devane) and youthful competition from Ethan Glance (Loren Dean) and Roger Hines (Courtney B Vance).
Space Cowboys is effective because director/star Eastwood fleshes out the personal relationships in a way that is gentle, funny and real.
The film sags because its second more serious half isn't nearly as much fun as the first. Once in space, the film falters and slows down to a ponderous pace lacking punch and vitality.
But watching the four leads revel in their agedness makes you inclined toward forgiveness anyway.
In spite of the outlandishness of the film's premise (A group of men, whose collective ages exceed 250 years, in space, saving the world??), one never tires of Eastwood's agelessness, Jones' wrinkly-eyed smile, Sutherland's flirtatious blue eyes and Garner's wry charm. It's our knowledge of the history of the stars that makes the movie work.
Space Cowboys doesn't chart new horizons. But it's an enjoyable ride,
piloted by the epitome of ageless machismo: Clint Eastwood. And that, in
itself, is worth the price of the ticket.
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner,
Loren Dean, Courtney B Vance, Sara Holland, James Cromwell, Marcia Gay Harden, William Devane
Director: Clint Eastwood
Producers: Clint Eastwood, Andrew Lazar
Screenplay: Ken Kaufman, Howard Klausner
Cinematography: Jack N Green
Music: Lennie Niehaus
Editor: Joel Cox
Distributor: Warner Bros International
Tommy Lee Jones