Space Cowboys (2000)

Clint Eastwood directs himself, Tommy Lee Jones and James Garner in this sci-fi adventure where four rejected test pilots from the Fifties get an improbable chance to finally be astronauts in their dotage when a Soviet satellite needs fixing in the 00s.

A blockbuster of two halves. The bulk of the movie is a pleasurable breeze as the four wrinkly but spry stars assemble, train, cheat on tests, flirt, settle ancient scores and even are a hit on the late night talk show circuit. The quartet have a lovely energy, the steady flow of jokes gently hit the right notes and we get a far classier retread of the best moments of Armageddon. Then we go into space. FX takes over. The banter dries up. The spectacle is solid and anyone who’s bought a ticket is going to feel they got all their popcorn bucket’s worth of mid-level thrills and spills. Yet watching the old school boys (including Donald Sutherland) lark about on the NASA training program is the gold.


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