[With 2022 all wrapped up and we’ve had time to let the previous year sink in, it’s time for our fifth annual Golden Cages Awards! Over the next two weeks, the staff at Flixist will be announcing the winners in sixteen different categories that range from all different genres and categories before ultimately revealing what our best film of 2022 was. So sit back, relax, and come join us as we take one final look at 2022 and see the notable movies the year had to offer.]
2022 was a really good year for action aficionados. Not only did Everything Everywhere All At Once give YouTube channel “Martial Club” a huge platform (after appearing in 2021’s Shang-Chi), but Indian action extravaganza RRR introduced a tremendous amount of people to foreign action cinema. While I seem to be in the minority at Flixist and would have actually given this award to RRR, it’s hard to deny how exciting and breathtaking the action was in Top Gun: Maverick.
Yes, the 2022 Golden Cages award for Best Action goes to the long-anticipated sequel to the 1986 surprise hit. Nowadays when it comes to action in Hollywood films, you tend to get a lot of quick cuts and bizarre close-ups in an attempt to obscure the actor’s lack of physical prowess. It’s an understandable tradeoff considering most actors take lessons on how to emote versus how to punch each other. When you can just get a stunt double for the trickier segments and use CG to swap faces, there isn’t much reason to put yourself in personal danger just for a specific shot.
Tom Cruise is different.
I won’t excuse his Scientology or bizarre viewpoints on medicine, but Cruise certainly knows how to get the most out of an action sequence. Either from putting himself right in the thick of things or inventing new ways to film aerial combat, Top Gun: Maverick is one of those rare blockbuster tentpole releases that attempted to push the medium forward. As seen in the making of featurettes included on the Blu-Ray release, Cruise and all of his fellow actors actually went up in the Boeing F/A-18Es to record live footage.
There is certainly some CG enhancement for specific sequences (no one was firing actual rounds at each other) and seasoned fighter pilots did the more ridiculous maneuvers, but the majority of Maverick’s sequences are real. Can you imagine getting your big break by being cast in Top Gun 2 only to learn that you’re going to be entering flight school? I suppose if we need some pilots ASAP, the cast of Maverick has got our backs.
Even beyond the technical wizardry of this film, Top Gun: Maverick is just thrilling to watch. It moves at a great pace, has some impeccable sound design, and features incredibly beautiful IMAX sequences that further immerse you in its world. For all of these reasons, Maverick gets the Golden Cages 2022 award for Best Action.