Plane does exactly what it says on the tin. Switch your brain off, jump into the cockpit and embrace the loud shooty bang bang and bone snapping fisticuffs.
WRITTEN BY JACK RANSOM / JANUARY 31, 2023
The inevitable disposable January action flick has landed at the cinematic airport. Plane sees pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) save his passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island. When dangerous rebels take most of the passengers hostage, the only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI.
Look, if you’ve seen the trailer or hell, even the *poster* for Plane, you will already know whether or not you are going to be onboard with Butler’s bullet riddled airborne antics. I’m always going to embrace a B-movie action flick arriving at the multiplex and whilst it really doesn’t bring anything new to the table whatsoever and is paper thin when it comes to its characters, the film delivers a lean, straightforward hostage thriller, with a suitably chaotic and bloody final 20 minutes.
It surprisingly does take a little while to get going and all the traits and tropes immediately queue up to make their appearance: Brodie’s distant relationship with his daughter, the airline company prioritising money over safety… however when the titular vehicle hits land after a CGI heavy lightning fest, the film finds a consistent faster pace with a some surprisingly mean spirited and nasty bursts to make the incredibly generic antagonists slightly more memorable and a finale which will have action fans grinning with glee.
Obviously this is working on a lower budget which is certainly noticeable in the flight sequences and the overall production value at points. However, when it comes to what matters (the action), it is impressive. A brutal and scrappy long take one on one brawl, sledgehammer face smashes and a bullet riddled finale that is revels in gnarly practical effects and blood splatting carnage (the booming sniper rifle shots that rip through and send the bad guys flying in the blazing shootout are a particular highlight). Lastly there is a moment towards the climax (of which I won’t spoil) that had me saying to myself - “please, please do what I think is about to happen”, it then did happen, which had me cackling with glee at its simultaneous stupidity and epic-ness.
Gerard Butler may get a lot of flack, but hand him this type of material and he is absolutely in his element. Sure, Brodie Torrance isn’t going to go down as one of cinema’s iconic protagonists, though he is engaging enough here and Butler’s commitment to the stunt work is commendable as always. Mike Colter brings a quiet, imposing presence as the fast thinking and ruthless con Gaspare. The rest of the supporting players are essentially disposable and their to act panicked, angry etc. and Evan Dane Taylor gives lead antagonist, Junmar a hulking and remorseless edge.
Plane does exactly what it says on the tin. Switch your brain off, jump into the cockpit and embrace the loud shooty bang bang and bone snapping fisticuffs and you’ll be just fine. However, there is an undeniable layer of ‘seen it all before’ and you won’t care about anyone involved whatsoever, but it moves quick enough and doesn’t outstay its welcome at all.