AIR AMERICA is a classic buddy film, with Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. as pilots working for the CIA’s own private airline that actually operates in Laos during the Vietnam War.
Billy (Robert Downey Jr.) is a helicopter traffic reporter who is fired after an altercation with a truck driver. But he's given another chance to fly when he's offered a job with the CIA. While Laos might be L.A. with just another couple of letters, this is a job where Billy should have read the small print more carefully! Before he knows it he is caught up among a bunch of pilots where mental stability is optional, among them his old friend Gene (Mel Gibson). Instead of traffic reports he finds himself running guns for his drug smuggling superiors!
Keeping the balance between action and comedy just right, Roger Spottiswoode's direction and the very funny script by John Eskow and Richard Rush bring out the best in the two stars. AIR AMERICA is about taking life as it comes, even if that life is played out against a backdrop of war and the ironies it causes. It is about having fun and flying. And along with being genuinely funny with enough throw-away lines and banter to warrant several viewings it also boasts an excellent soundtrack, including Steely Dan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Temptations, The Mamas and The Papas, The Rolling Stones and Frank Sinatra.