Not sure if this film will go down in history for any real significant impact. However, there is one important gem to take away from this film: this is the movie where the king of cool found his queen. That’s right, The Experts is the movie in which John Travolta met Kelly Preston, and the rest, I suppose, is history, as the two went on to have a nearly thirty-year marriage until her tragic death in 2020. In the film, it is quite fitting that the two served as each other’s love interests, despite some clear geopolitical differences. I’d say that is putting it mildly given that Preston is a Russian sleeper agent and Travolta is the unwitting American who is teaching her to pass for American. That is the premise of the film, as Travolta along with Arye Gross of House 2: The Second Story fame are couple of club-goers and aspiring club owners who unknowingly are recruited to teach modern ways to the outdated town of Russian sleeper agents under the auspices of opening a nightclub. The film gives Bill and Ted vibes, which is ironic given that the film predates Bill and Ted by at least two years. However, the film feels more silly than entertaining.
I’m sure it has to do with me living in a modern time, but I struggled at times to put myself in the time period that the film depicted. Such as the language and the hairdos were very hard to take seriously. That said, Travolta and the king of cool persona that he cultivated during this time period was something to admire. Even here, he has charm and charisma. I’m not sure he has enough to convince a Russian agent to renounce their allegiances, but I won’t put it out of the realm of possibly. Travolta, for me, was very much the focal point of the film. Yes, the film is depicted as a buddy movie, but Gross, while decent enough, wasn’t the one that your eyes went to when they were on screen. This is clearly a Travolta movie, and he is without question and justifiably the draw for it.
It was enjoyable to see these two guys dropped into a Happy Days-like environment and their fish-out-of water antics as they inadvertently work to modernize the town, completely oblivious to the actual goal of their work. Obviously the two couldn’t remain oblivious to the actual mission and would have to learn the truth eventually, and at this point the film has a bit of a turning point. Before it didn’t take itself too seriously, but when the ulterior motive is exposed, Travolta and Gross are put into this situation where they have to decide what to do next. True to character, they decided to make an appeal to people they trust, who they really have no reason to trust. Granted, I understand their reasoning; I just don’t agree with it. This naturally has mixed results, as one of the people they trust proves themselves unreliable, and it was the one I expected. At this point, the remainder of the film becomes quite predictable, as there was only one real way for it to end. That said, there were some twists as certain people chose sides and allied themselves with our would-be protagonists, some predictable, others not so much.
If there is one thing to see in this movie, it would be the dance scene between Travolta and Preston, which will now live on in my head for the rest of my days. This is where there chemistry takes over. For the time period, this was a hot-and-heavy sequence that would have the audience requiring a cold shower afterwards. I can see why they ended up together, because there was no way their chemistry could be contained to just the silver screen. And here is a piece of information that I uncovered while researching the film: dancing was a staple of their marriage. Whenever seen together, they were usually seen dancing.
All in all, though it does feel like a bad propaganda film at times, for the most part, The Experts is a moderately entertaining film that helps to showcase why we all love John Travolta. Additionally, knowing that the film also resulted in the lifelong relationship between him and Kelly Preston gives the film a piece of nostalgia. I don’t expect to intentionally watch the film again, but if it was to come on TV and I had nothing else to watch, I wouldn’t be opposed to watching it again.