Flight of the Intruder is the most boring Vietnam War pic since The Green Berets (1968), but lacks the benefit of the latter’s political outrageousness to spark a little interest and humor.
Set mostly aboard a giant aircraft carrier, yarn [from the novel by Stephen Coonts] unspools in 1972. Prevented from bombing Hanoi and other strategic spots while the Paris peace talks are in progress, fighter pilots are reduced to assaulting meaningless targets and facing the likelihood that the massive US war effort will have been in vain.
Nonetheless, officers have to keep discipline and morale up, a task that falls to Danny Glover, the tough-talking but humorous squadron leader.
Title refers to the A-6, a small, low-altitude bomber designed for quick in-and-out strikes. Ace of the outfit is Brad Johnson, who loses a bombardier in an elaborate credit sequence and is thereafter interested in ‘payback’.
Opportunity presents itself with the arrival of a vet bombardier (Willem Dafoe) not averse to hijinks. Johnson and Dafoe cook up a scheme to devastate People’s Resistance Park in downtown Hanoi, a.k.a. SAM City, where captured US artillery is on display.
Glover brings energy and glee to his reams of dialog. Dafoe puts a few cynical spins on his delivery, but his character pales next to his role in Platoon. Johnson, again playing a flier, is even more lackluster than in Always. Hawaiian locations, when viewed from the air, are too lushly recognizable to be an entirely credible Vietnam.