PLANE Review – Thrilling Sky-High Action at 30,000 feet


Gerard Butler survives danger in the air and terror on the ground in the action thriller ‘PLANE’

There’s a certain sub-genre of action movies that aren’t interested in being smart or particularly clever, just providing pure unadulterated entertainment. These movies were extremely popular in the 80s and 90s, where a rough frame of a story was all that was required to get audiences to ‘the good stuff’. Gerard Butler has made this genre his home so strap in for his latest entry, ‘PLANE’.

PLANE comes to us from director Jean-Francois Richet and stars Gerard Butler as Captain Brodie Torrance. A pilot for Trailblazer Airlines trying to complete one more low-level flight so he can go and spend New Years with his daughter. Shortly after takeoff, the plane is hit by a lightning which renders the planes electronics inoperable and the aircraft in free fall manual control of the pilot and Copilot Dele (Yoson An).

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Gerard Butler as Brodie Torrance in Plane. Photo Credit: Kenneth Rexach

Added to this, a ‘dangerous’ handcuffed prisoner Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter) is being transported on the same flight. The plane goes down, Broadie pulls off a brilliant landing and their biggest issue appears to be making contact with headquarters so a rescue can be arranged. To further complicate matters, the local Filipino militants decide they are going to take the passengers hostage to demand ransom for their safe return. The mission for Brodie becomes pulling off a dangerous rescue of the passengers from this local militia and finding a way off the island.

When I first heard there was going to be an action film with Gerard Butler on a plane, I was hoping for a combination of Olympus has Fallen and Con Air. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In terms of acting, Gerard delivers what we have come to expect from him which is decent and affable. We get a sense of who he is, a tough pilot with a few jokes who doesn’t take nonsense. But when things ‘hit the fan’, you want to see your leading man giving you those big action moments, but they weren’t enough.

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Mike Colter as Louis Gaspare in PLANE. Photo Credit: Kenneth Rexach

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Mike Colter and the rest of the cast are given interesting backgrounds but no opportunity to develop them. Referencing Con Air again, in that we had a varied and interesting cast of characters we got to know quite well. Passengers in PLANE are underdeveloped and mostly unused, which is a missed opportunity in my opinion. Outside of the sequences on board, things seemed a bit barren, lacking imagination or a distinct style or direction.

In terms of action, there are some cool sequences on the ‘PLANE’ but things taper off for the ground sections. The nature of action films lends itself to interesting set pieces, creative explosions and being ‘R’ rated, a lot more violence. These were mostly lacking in the movie, leaving us something which is adequate but not necessarily hitting those action movie highs. It would have been nice to have the other passengers involved somehow and there was plenty of space and scope to make sequences like the passenger rescue, into something more exciting.

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PLANE had the potential to be a much bigger movie. With some imaginative set pieces and a few Michael Bay explosions, this could have been an unforgettable action thriller, perfect for any weekend. What we have here is decent, steady and competent but not one of the greats of the genre. The ‘villains’ are carbon copy cut-outs and none of the characters can really be described as memorable. At 1hr 47min, the director had no intention of keeping us hanging around as things zoom towards their bullet riddled conclusion.

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