Director: Jean-François Richet
Cast: Gerard Butler, Mike Colter, Yoson An, Daniella Pineda
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence & Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Encore Films
Opening Day: 19 January 2023
Synopsis: In the white-knuckle action movie PLANE, pilot Brodie Torrance (Gerard Butler) saves his passengers from a lightning strike by making a risky landing on a war-torn island - only to find that surviving the landing was just the beginning. When most of the passengers are taken hostage by dangerous rebels, the only person Torrance can count on for help is Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), an accused murderer who was being transported by the FBI. In order to rescue the passengers, Torrance will need Gaspare’s help, and will learn there’s more to Gaspare than meets the eye.
To be brutally honest, the poster of this movie looks like a straight to video release. The idea of a gruff white man (we are guessing he’s the lead because of his body posture, and he is the guy in the foreground) teaming up with a grumpy black man to save the day seems all too familiar. And when the white guy is Gerard Butler, it goes on to remind us of how he saved the day (and possibly the world) in the action thriller series Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016) and Angel Has Fallen (2019). If you don’t already know, he will be returning as Secret Service Mike Banning in the upcoming Night Has Fallen.
But as we sat through the movie, we realise it wasn’t as bad as we thought. Maybe familiarity is a good thing after all.
Butler plays commercial pilot Brodie Torrance whom we first see departing Singapore(we don’t think it was actually filmed in our local airport though) on New Year’s Eve. His plan of spending time with his daughter after his flight fails when a bad storm hit in mid air, and he is forced to make an emergency landing on an island located in a remote area of the Philippines. We’re not sure whether the Filipinos are pleased with this, but the movie features a group of anti government militias who are capable of very serious harm.
Brodie, together with the surviving passengers (yes, there will be casualties), have to brave the bad guys with no direct means of communication. Oh, remember the other dude you see on the poster? He is Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), a convicted murderer who was on Brodie’s flight. And he may just be the person to team up with our hero to save the day.
The 107 minute movie does exactly what it is supposed to do. Director Jean-François Richet brings on the thrills without making you feel bored. It doesn’t spend much time to exploring the emotions of the several characters. There is no time for sentimentality, it seems. While the survivors are trying to stay alive on the island, there is a rescue effort led by a former Special Forces officer (Tony Goldwyn) that is happening in an intense meeting room. There are also supporting characters like the earnest co pilot (Yoson An, whom we last saw in the live action adaptation of Disney’s Mulan), the responsible head flight attendant (Daniella Pineda) and a less than memorable ensemble of passengers.
Butler doesn’t disappoint as an action star, and he displays his manly charisma in this role. He pulls some solid punches, and earns his keep by keeping the bad guys at bay. The Scottish actor gets extra points for convincing us that he is a reliable pilot that has his passengers’ welfare at heart if anything unfortunate happens. We’d feel safe on a plane flown by him. If you aren’t expecting anything bombastic, then this action thriller soars above most average action flicks and reminds you of what watching a suspense movie is about.
(This action thriller doesn't try to be different and it's a solid package that delivers the right amount of suspense and entertainment)
Review by John Li