Thinly conceived, with impressive-enough action sequences that never hit adrenalized transcendance, and impossible to watch lead Billy Campbell without feeling like you're just getting a cutrate Brendan Fraser. But the toss-off dialogue is often clever and sufficiently tonally close to the classic Hollywood pocket being aimed at (frustrated director getting AD to round up the extras: "tell the ladies in waiting we're waiting!"), it moves briskly enough.
Viewed 25 years later, The Rocketeer isn’t quite the old-fashioned classic that its lush period décor and vertiginously swirling James Horner score would have you believe. But it’s a likable knock-off, as well as a clear test run for Johnston’s later Captain America: The First Avenger, which was similarly steeped in Greatest Generation nostalgia.