[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/51Z3RS06DBL__SL500_AA300__9949.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:The Few. The Proud. The Totally Insane.]]

-->'''Billy''': Jesus! Who the hell is shooting at us?
-->'''Jack''': Over here, [[EverythingTryingToKillYou everybody shoots at us]].

1969: After [[ItMakesSenseInContext buzzing a semi-driver]], radio eye-in-the-sky Billy Covington(Creator/RobertDowneyJr) gets stripped of his pilots license. No sooner does this happen than he gets a job offer from Air America, a covert airlift organization operating out of Laos. Once there, he finds the company full of lunatics, with perhaps the looniest being [[CrazyAwesome Gene Ryack]] (Creator/MelGibson), a self-proclaimed Buddhist who runs guns on the side. He also finds out the organization is secretly a drug-smuggling operation, run by [[MagnificentBastard Major Lemond]]([[{{Scrubs}} Ken Jenkins]]) and General Soong([[ThePinkPanther Burt Kwouk]]).

Not to be confused with AirAmericaRadio.

!!!Tropes
* ActuallyThatsMyAssistant: Senator Davenport mistakes General Soong in his BlingOfWar for a bellhop.
* AnachronismStew: Not ''too'' bad, but some of the songs on the soundtrack actually came out ''after'' 1969.
* AgonyOfTheFeet: Gene relates a story about getting his toe shot off through the cockpit floor. He now keeps it in a jar around his neck.
* TheBadGuysWin: In the end, Lemond and Soong get to continue smuggling drugs.
* BigDamnHeroes: Gene, Billy, and Babo come to rescue Corrine from Soong's troops. When they find out a number of villagers also need saving, Gene dumps his whole stash of weapons(that he was planning to sell for his retirement) to make room for them, and then blows the weapons up so Soong's men can't use them.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: All the pilots are total loons, but still amazing pilots.
* CasualDangerDialog
* CoolPlane: Averted and played straight at the same time. Averted in that none of the planes or helicopters are even remotely sleek or cool looking, played straight in that those aircraft are extremely good at what they're used for and can take a lot of punishment before going down.
* DangerDeadpan: The pilots are also surprisingly calm, even when being shot at.
* DeadpanSnarker: A few, particularly Gene.
* DeathSeeker: Gene seems to have shades of this.
* EruditeStoner: Babo.
--> Hey, man, I'm 42 years old, I've never figured anything out in my life!
* EverythingTryingToKillYou: See page quote.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: In one scene at a restaurant, two Laotian lounge singers are singing Music/{{America}}'s "Horse With No Name". In {{Engrish}}.
* GallowsHumor: Given the circumstances...
-->'''Rob''': Is he dead?
-->'''Gene''': Well, Rob, if he's not dead, he's very, very calm.
* GranolaGirl: Corrine, the Peace Corps volunteer who's totally savvy to Lemond and Soong's activities.
* GrayAndGreyMorality: There are definitely good guys and bad guys, but none of the good guys are pure white-hats, not even Billy and Corinne, who probably come closest, and none of the villains are pure black-hats, not even Major Lemond and General Soong. Yes, granted, Soong, Lemond, and Rob are drug runners, but there is no evidence that Lemond and Diehl are enriching themselves, and even Gene, who is more or less neutral for most of the film, points out that it is impossible to win a war in Southeast Asia without controlling the opiate trade, so Lemond and Diehl, and even Soong, are just doing what is necessary for the war effort. Ryack himself is a gun runner, and it is made clear that pretty much all the pilots are running illegal scams on the side. Corinne, again, might seem closest to being a pure white-hat, but she's dating Rob, one of the villains. Senator Davenport turns out to be a good guy at the end, but he's willing to look the other way at Gen. Soong's rather dodgy "recruitment" techniques. So all in all, no one in the film really seems all good or all evil.
* HolidayInCambodia: Pretty much the plot.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: At the beginning, a farmer shoots down a plane with a casual pot-shot.
* MinionWithAnFInEvil: Rob Diehl
* PercussiveTherapy: After getting his pilot's license pulled, Billy kicks the shit out of a coffee table.
* {{Retirony}}: Sort of; [[spoiler:Jack Neely]] was working on his retirement, but in the back of his mind knew he was gonna meet "the golden BB" sooner or later.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Jack Neely, one of the older pilots, is a bit weirder than the others, and zones out during a tense moment at one point.
* SleazyPolitician: Subverted by Senator Davenport. He tries to hit on Corinne at one point, but, at least as far as the big picture, he's as straight as an arrow.
* UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar
* WhatDoesSheSeeInHim: Corrine is apparently dating Rob.
* WhatTheHellHero: Billy lampshades it at one point:
-->'''Gene''': You know, Buddha said--
-->'''Billy''': Will ya stop with the whole Buddha thing? I just don't believe a real Buddhist would be in the gun-running business[...]
-->'''Gene''': I didn't say I was a good Buddhist...
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: A pretty funny one.

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