PLANE: 2 STARS. “feels like being stuck in the middle seat on a long flight.”
As if flying in real life wasn’t bad enough these days, along comes “Plane,” a new Gerard Butler resourceful hero movie, that brings the experience of a terrible flight to your local theatre.
The story begins on New Year’s Eve aboard the half empty Trailblazer flight 119. Butler is Brodie Torrance, a widowed pilot with a far-a-way look in his eye and a daughter in Hawaii he doesn’t see often enough.
In the cabin are the usual assortment of b-movie types, the hot-headed American, giggling teens posting on social media, the brash Brit, and, of course, Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an accused murderer being extradited to face trial.
When a lightning strike forces a crash landing on Jolo, a remote Philippine island run by heavily armed anti-government militias, Torrance must pull out all the stops to save his passengers.Meanwhile, at Trailblazer’s New York headquarters, a crisis management team lead by the tough-as-nails David Scarsdale (Tony Goldwyn), manages the situation from afar.
As action movies go, even with the relatively low expectations that come from an action film with Butler’s name above the title, “Plane” is about as bland as airline food. From its blunt, one word title and one dimensional characters, to its clumsy action scenes and Ed Wood style “toy airplane in flight” sequences, the Jean-François Richet-directed, so-called thriller fails to take flight.
Butler does what he can, grimacing and, occasionally flashing the charisma that made him a star in the first place, while spitting out trademarked action movie dialogue.
“That’s your plan?” asks one of the passengers after Torrance details a risky move. “Do you have a better one?” he replies, echoing a thousand action stars that came before him.
Worse than that, Richet and screenwriters Charles Cumming and J. P. Davis, don’t trust the audience. It’s not enough to show the lightning strike and the havoc it creates. We must also be told that the plane was hit with “enough juice to light a city.” We know. We just saw it. How about giving us new information, or, failing that, interesting dialogue?
If there were still DVD delete bins at the local video store, “Plane” would be gathering dust at the bottom of the barrel.
“Plane” feels like being stuck in the middle seat on a long flight.