PG Score: 6/10
Director Jean-François Richet (Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Blood Father) takes to the skies for his return to the big screen with Plane. As soon as the film takes off, he makes his intent abundantly clear: a direct flight to standard action entertainment. There are bumps along the way, but the full-throttle pacing and serviceable shootouts ensure a smooth landing at the final destination.
The unabashedly far-fetched premise finds pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) caught in the middle of a war zone following an emergency landing in a lightning storm. When the passengers are captured by ruthless rebels, his only support comes in the form of Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an alleged murderer being extradited on the same flight. Together, they must face insurmountable odds to free the hostages.
Action Ups and Downs
The action is driven by a balanced attack of close-quarters encounters and extended firefights. However, Brodie’s first tussle with a deadly separatist plays out in rather clunky fashion. Surely the awkwardness of the brawl is intentional from a narrative standpoint, but that fails to account for the nauseating camera angles and clumsy choreography. Fortunately, any repeat blunders are far less noticeable as the battles click into high gear. Most of the remaining hand-to-hand engagements are more impactful thanks to better framing and design. The gunplay is the real crowd-pleaser though. The best is saved for last as the adventure culminates in a glorious blaze of bullets that checks all the boxes. Richet never tries to dress Plane up as anything other than the run-and-gun romp that it is. While the execution yields mixed results, his commitment to delivering unadulterated, B-movie fun is appreciated.
Bad Writing?! *GASP*
In a truly shocking turn of events, Plane does not feature the sharpest writing. With a title that profound?! Color this critic stunned. All jokes aside, the conversations leave much to be desired even with the appropriate considerations. The silly exchanges are expected and welcomed, but they are short on humor. Leaning harder into the ridiculousness of it all would have allowed more freedom for Butler and Colter to navigate the buddy movie realm. The two actors make an effective pairing, so it is a shame they are not better utilized.
A Decent Flight
Plane maintains a steady course with its punchy fight sequences and winning Butler/Colter combination. Despite the dips in altitude caused by deficient dialogue and questionable camerawork, Jean-François Richet provides enough incentive to book a ticket…just don’t expect to fly first class. You are now free to move about the theater.