Space Cowboys

Year: 2000
Production Co: Mad Chance
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Clint Eastwood
Producer: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Ken Kaufman/Howard Klausner
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, James Garner, James Cromwell, Marcia Gay Harden, Rade Serbedzija, Jay Leno

An unrealistic but fun romp about a group of astronauts bought out of retirement to rescue an ailing satellite.

Gags like Sutherland reciting the eye test chart from memory because he knows the government would be too cheap to replace it in the ensuing years are a nice touch, but it's still pretty unbelievable that the four would get as far as they did past a hostile system led by the incredulous NASA director (Cromwell).

When NASA approaches former Right Stuff-style hero Eastwood, humiliated years before alongside his colleagues when they replaced them all with chimpanzees, his one condition is that his old teammates accompany him despite being spread far and wide across engineering and manufacturing fields.

Though everybody's affronted at the thought nobody has much choice, and the entertaining plot of them training for and getting into space raises enough questions about death, ageing and heroism to lift it (slightly) above the level of a popcorn thriller.

Like much of his work, Eastwood's longevity and persona tricks us all into thinking his movies are much better than they actually are. Just look at the universally beloved but utter rubbish Gran Torino.

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