One of those films that’s great to look at but never quite takes off in every other department, The Rocketeer was expected to be a big smash in the summer of 1991 but instead was trampled on by cinemagoers in the stampede to see Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Terminator 2. It’s the 1938-set story of bland stunt pilot Cliff (played by a bland Campbell), who sees a way to distinguish himself from the crowd and impress his gal, Jenny (Connelly, displaying enough cleavage for this to warrant a parental warning), when he stumbles across a prototype rocket jet pack that blasts him into space but, strangely, doesn’t set fire to his trousers. Soon he’s transformed himself into the Rocketeer, complete with cool leather jacket and a helmet that hides his identity, and is off skywards to do battle with everyone from gangsters to nasty Nazis.
It’s not a patch on Raiders of the Lost Ark (from which it borrows heavily), but there are some stunning sets and nice performances from a cast that also includes Alan Arkin (as Cliff’s helmet-designing buddy), Timothy Dalton (as an Errol Flynn-esque egomaniacal movie star with his eye on Jenny) and Lost’s Terry O’Quinn (as Howard Hughes) to make up for Campbell’s lack of screen presence and a dull, action-free first half.
Is The Rocketeer suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Bad guy Lothar (Tiny Ron) kills a few characters in scary ways. The climactic scene on the zeppelin is also quite frightening, but should be fine for over 10s.