Plane is crashing into theaters this Friday and I wanted to give you an idea of what to expect. Plus, see how many air-travel-related puns I could shove into one article. So, let’s talk about the latest Gerard Butler vehicle! Yes, it’s a plane.
Gerard Butler, the most Scottish-sounding Greek to ever hit the screen, is commercial airline pilot Cpt. Brodie Torrance. He glides his way through an airport to captain a flight to Hong Kong, the first leg of his journey to get home to his daughter in time for New Year’s Eve. But the smoothness of this plan faces turbulence in the form of Louis Gaspare, a prisoner played by Mike Colter, who is being escorted on Torrance’s plane to Hong Kong. Which wouldn’t have been a problem if it wasn’t for that storm…
They try to rise above their troubles until a lightning strike takes out the power, man. But with skills that outshine Captain Phillips, Torrance manages to land the plane on an unknown island. Which is where the real fun begins.
I have to say the tension did build as they entered the storm and Butler managed to sound pretty convincing as a pilot. And Colter plays the brooding, dangerous and disconnected criminal well… until he is called upon to play something else. There was a lot of action. And that’s what this is. An action flick. Don’t expect anyone to have any life-changing revelations. We get just enough backstory on the main characters to give them an excuse… I mean, the motivation… to fight on to the end. This was a fun story and delivered just that.
However, I will say in some ways it was predictable. The few people that weren’t stereotypical annoying passengers were shown but were never developed. The villains were typical ruthless terrorist types. Their motivations were not explained, we just have to assume they planned to ransom the passengers. Other characters, with one notable exception (which I will get to), were pretty generic.
I also have to say that I have my doubts that the majority of pilots who captain commercial aircraft would take their responsibility to their passengers so seriously that they would go to the lengths Captain Torrance does. Putting oneself in danger of being shot, tortured, and/or killed is really going above and beyond. If you are one of the few pilots who would do that, I salute you. But I’m not expecting that the hiring process for pilots includes screening for willingness to take on an army or terrorists. This captain took customer service to a whole new altitude.
But Tony Goldwyn really stood out in his role as Scarsdale, the corporate fixer. He came in and chewed out the person responsible for sending the aircraft into the storm. His character was a real standout among a relatively generic cast of characters. He’s probably the best character in the whole movie. If my plane went down and I needed to rely on support from the team at the airline’s main office, I would want someone like him. He was so good that I forgive him now, years later, for killing Sam Wheat in Ghost.
Butler and Colter played their parts well, too. Don’t get me wrong. And it was refreshing to see that this story wasn’t a character-building, life-changing epiphany, redemption-finding, and life-affirming lesson. For an airplane movie, there was a surprisingly small amount of baggage. I could have probably used a little more explanation on why Mike Colter’s Gaspare didn’t just leave the captain and his passengers in the wind. I did expect the captain to have questions about that. But that might have slowed down the pace.
There was a moment near the end where it seemed like they were building towards some kind of last-minute grab at the audience’s emotions. But it never actually got off the ground. It was slightly confusing.
I would love to hear the perspective of actual pilots regarding the authenticity of Butler’s portrayal and whether his accomplishments with the aircraft were plausible. The terminology he used seemed authentic, though at least one time it felt like he was using a term just to show he did his research. But what he did with that plane… I have no expertise to judge whether it would be possible.
If you’re looking for a fun action flick, this movie would definitely be your cup of tea. But it didn’t have any real memorable moments and I’m not likely to watch it again. The fighting was gritty enough, but there weren’t incredibly cool kills or interesting villains with diabolical and complex plans. I’m giving this a 7 out of 10 for being exactly what it tried to be. An action movie.
Plane lands in theaters on January 13th. Check out the trailer below.