Reviewed by Jo Gordon
An Officer and a Gentleman gained cult film status back in the shoulder padded, big haired and frosted pink lipstick year of 1982.There are not many of us hovering around a certain age that have not seen the film and may have had a crush on its leads Richard Gere and Debra Winger. Set in a Navel Officer Aviation school troubled Zach Mayo (Jonny Fines) begins training in hope of turning his life around and proving his alcoholic father Bryon (Darren Bennett), who also serves in the Navy, wrong in that he can become a Jet pilot. On day one Zach meets his fellow Officer Cadets and the the drill instructor Emil Foley (Ray Shell), an incredibly angry, shouty man who’s aim in life is to sort the chaff from the wheat. Despite being warned off about the local girls who will say anything to marry a pilot, Zach and his new friend Sid (Ian McIntosh) meet and form a relationship with two factory girls, Paula Pokrifki (Emma Williams) and Lynette Pomeroy (Jessica Daley). As Zach faces his demons and learns how to be a team player, his Officer Cadet friends go DOR or don’t hit the mark and his passionate relationship with Paula has its own difficulties. Meanwhile Sid hits a crises point with Lynette that doesn’t end well and this becomes a turning point for Zach.
With its musical score straight from a 1980’s power ballad mix tape it is quite a dewy eyed sentimental trip. Using past hits such as “The Final Countdown” “St Elmo’s Fire” “Toy Soldiers” and of course “Up Where We Belong” alongside the narrative we get to see the casts vocal abilities and you will not be disappointed. At times the structure of the original song may have been changed but works well. Emma Williams has a stunning voice that perfectly provides what is needed to belt out a classic like “Alone” or “Don’t Cry Out Loud”. A strong cast providing strong characters, with Ray Shells Emil being a personal favourite. The set, with a mix of digital backdrops, military style props and slick changes are on point then add into the mix the uniforms and you’re in for a treat.