Sunday, February 5, 2023

Movie Review: Plane!

Plane is a 2023 action thriller movie starring Gerard Butler, Tony Goldwyn, Mike Colter, and Paul Ben-Victor. The story starts innocuously enough with commercial Trailblazer Airlines Flight 119 flying from Singapore to Honolulu via Tokyo. Of course, the weather is bad and of course the greedy bosses at the airlines insist the pilot (Butler) fly above the storm to make their destination in time. The plane suffers damage during the storm over the South China Sea, but pilot Brodie Torrance (Butler) ably assisted by his co-pilot Samuel Dele (Yoson An) makes an incredible landing on a seemingly uninhabited island with the loss of only two lives; an air hostess and the RCMP officer who is escorting fugitive Louis Gaspare (Colter) back to face justice. Of course, this is no ordinary island. It is home to a villainous gang that kidnaps foreigners, holds them to ransom to make their origin countries pay, and if not, they are executed. Could it get any worse? Yes! Prepare to perch on the edge of your seat and shovel that popcorn down in handfuls. This is not your usual air crash disaster movie.

I love disaster movies, especially airplane disasters, and I am a big Gerard Butler fan. After all, he has saved the American president thrice from terrorists (Olympus/London/Angel Has Fallen), has steered a nuclear submarine safely through heavily mined Russian waters (Hunter Killer) and saved the world from ecological disaster (Geostorm). When the end of the world comes, I want him on my team. Butler plays Torrance as not quite the anti-hero, but an ordinary man doing everything noble because, as the captain, he is responsible for the lives in his care. He is fighting for the survival of everyone on the plane, including himself. He does this without being schmaltzy or corny. Tony Goldwyn is excellent, as always, as Scarsdale, a former Special Forces officer who swoops in to run point at the airline’s headquarters. Louis Gaspare and Torrance team up to push the rescue mission while waiting for possible help to arrive. It’s a good team and you’ll be rooting for Gaspare to either escape or be vindicated. Surprise factor on that point!

This is an exceptionally good action movie with no soppiness and no long staring into the distance moments. The actual crash and dramatic events come thick and fast and although some elements are a bit far-fetched (the co-pilot manages to revive the electronics), well… who is going to point this it as not being credible. Not me. I’m no pilot. This is a happy ending with everyone, characters and viewers, being scared witless. The one sobering element is that much of the background story is true. Rebels and separatists do kidnap people for ransom; many are executed, and the Philippine government is probably too scared to send in troops without massive international backup. Pretty young women like a few of the characters on the plane would most likely be sold off to the highest bidder, never to be seen again. The suspense is incredible and isn’t that what an action thriller movie aims to achieve? Watch it. You won’t be disappointed. Don’t forget the popcorn. You’re going to need it.

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