It’s perhaps somewhat astonishing that of all the success he’s enjoyed over the past four decades, Tom Cruise is arguably more popular than ever right now.
Recent instalments in the Mission: Impossible franchise have raised the bar for action, and the star is currently sitting atop the box office with the highest-grossing movie of the year (and his career) in the near-universally acclaimed Top Gun: Maverick.
Flash back to the first Top Gun in 1986, and while Cruise was hot property coming off the Tony Scott-directed action blockbuster, another actor was also making a major impact thanks to the erotic drama 9½ Weeks in fellow rising star Mickey Rourke. Both actors had the world at their feet and seemed primed for Hollywood greatness…
Of course, it didn’t quite work out that way for Rourke, who enjoyed a few more hits before burning a bunch of bridges and taking a detour into professional boxing and direct-to-video obscurity for much of the next two decades before sparking a comeback with 2005’s Sin City and earning a well-deserved Oscar nod for 2008’s The Wrestler.
Unfortunately, it’s been downhill and back to DTV since, and speaking to Piers Morgan on his Uncensored show, Rourke was asked about his contemporary’s success with Top Gun: Maverick and his career trajectory since their breakthrough back in the day. And, well, it’s safe to say he’s not a fan, with Rourke calling Cruise “irrelevant” as he went in hard.
“That doesn’t mean shit to me,” said Rourke when asked about Cruise’s box office success. “The guy’s been doing the same effing part for 35 years. I got no respect for that I don’t care about money or power. I care about, when I watch Al Pacino or Christopher Walken working, and De Niro’s early work and Richard Harris’ work and Ray Winstone’s work, that’s the kind of actor I want to be like. Monty Clift and Brando back in the day. A lot of guys that tried to stretch as actors… I think [Cruise] is irrelevant in my world.”
"The guy's been doing the same effing part for 35 years… I got no respect for that."
— Piers Morgan Uncensored (@PiersUncensored) July 11, 2022
While Rourke stretches himself with the likes of Warhunt, Cruise can currently be seen in cinemas in Top Gun: Maverick, and will be back for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Part Two in 2023 and 2024 respectively, reprising his role as Ethan Hunt for the seventh… and eighth… hold on, has Rourke got a point?! Let us know your thoughts on our social channels @FlickeringMyth…
SEE ALSO: When Mickey Rourke Almost Ruled Cinema
After more than thirty years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign: “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose”.
Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.
Top Gun: Maverick features a cast including stars Tom Cruise (Maverick), Val Kilmer (Iceman), Jennifer Connolly (American Pastoral), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Ed Harris (Westworld), Lewis Pullman (Bad Times at the El Royale), Glen Powell (Hidden Figures), Charles Parnell (Transformers: Age of Extinction), Bashir Salahuddin (Glow), Monica Barbaro (The Good Cop), Danny Ramirez (The Gifted), Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Jay Ellis (Insecure), Kara Wang (Good Trouble), Jack Schumacher (Empire), Greg Tarzan Davis (Chicago P.D.), Jake Picking (Blockers), Raymond Lee (Mozart in the Jungle), Jean Louisa Kelly (Ant-Man) and Lyliana Wray (Strange Angel).