Sorry, Tom Cruise: China's Version Of Top Gun Might Be Better Than Yours

Michael Peck

I will make an unpatriotic confession.

I like the Chinese version of "Top Gun" better.

Or more specifically, a short Chinese navy video that resembles the 1986 Hollywood hit, for which a sequel is underway.

Well, almost resembles.

No smirking Tom Cruise. No fake love story (and no Kelly McGillis) to distract what everyone really came to see, which was the cool F-14 Tomcats zooming and booming through the skies. And at almost six minutes instead of almost two hours for the American version, it's a lot quicker to watch.

Not that the Chinese video is for entertainment: it's strictly propaganda (though the same could be said for the original Top Gun, to which the Navy happily contributed F-14s for the ultimate recruiting tool and budget-justifier).

The Chinese video was filmed during People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) exercises in the South China Sea earlier this year. It features an excellent sound track that conveys just the right amount of power and purpose.

Not surprisingly, the star of the show is the Liaoning, China's first aircraft carrier. The Liaoning is actually an ex-Soviet carrier laid down in the 1980s and never completed, until China bought and refurbished the rusting hulk. But in this video, it looks as awesome as an American Ford-class carrier, even though it's half the size. Filmed bow-on and steaming at the head of a column, and flanked by four escorts on either side, it looks as imposing an an American carrier battle group, even though it wouldn't last half a minute against a Ford- or Nimitz-class vessel.

Cue in the J-15 fighters shown launching from the ski-jump deck of the Liaoning and then maneuvering gracefully over the Pacific. There is the obligatory footage of missiles rising from surface ships atop pillars of fire, torpedoes splashing into the water, and the buzz of rapid-fire air defense cannon.

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