Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Concorde: Airport '79

Year 2, Day 102 - 4/12/10 - Movie #467

BEFORE: I deserve some kind of medal for sitting through all of these "Airport" films - and I've been warned by friends that this one is the worst of the bunch. Since the Concorde stopped flying a few years ago, this is outdated to boot.

THE PLOT: George Kennedy again in his aviation-disaster role as Joe Patroni has to contend with nuclear missiles, the French Air Force and the threat of the plane splitting in two over the Alps!

AFTER: Continuity errors abound, along with an unlikely plot and laughable effects - where do I start?

Let's start with George Kennedy's character - he was a mechanic/airport manager in the first "Airport" film, then he became the V.P. of Operations for another airline in the 2nd film, then he had some secret job for a millionaire in the third film - now he's a pilot flying the Concorde! So he's had 4 completely different jobs for 4 different fictional airlines in 9 years! Plus in the first film, he talked about his wife and 5 sons, and in this one he mentions his late wife and ONE son, who's entering college - presumably this is the son seen on the plane in "Airport 1975", but he must have aged 10 years in just 4 years somehow...did the other sons die in a plane crash?

Then we've got an industrialist, Kevin Harrison (played by Robert Wagner), who's secretly an arms dealer - when a reporter gets secret papers handed to her, just before boarding the Concorde, Harrison uses a test of a drone missile to try and blow up the jet. Despite the fact that the Concorde can travel at twice the speed of sound, and the missile can't, the missile seems to catch up with the plane and fly circles around it - huh?

Kennedy's Patroni doesn't seem at all fazed by the fact that someone shot a missile at his plane - he treats it like this sort of thing happens to him every day. Who knows, maybe it does, the guy always seems to be in the middle of these disasters... His answer to defeating the missile involves doing a loop-de-loop with the supersonic jet, opening up the window (!) and firing a flare-gun to distract the heat-seeking missile - as casually as you or I would roll down our car window to order at the drive-thru...

So the plane makes it to France, but is forced to land on a very short runway - it's stopped by a series of flimsy plastic nets (!!) and has damaged equipment from the missile - yet still manages to take off again for Russia the next day. Excuse me? They delayed my plane once because the pilot didn't have the right seat cushion, and you're going to take off again in a plane damaged by a missile? That you flew upside-down in a barrel roll and almost crashed?

Comic relief (as if more were needed) is provided by Jimmie "Dyn-o-Mite" Walker as a jazz musician who smokes pot in the restroom, and Martha Raye, as the token aging actress who has a bladder-control problem and needs to use the restroom every 5 minutes. Raye later did real TV ads for incontinence products - so either she felt very strongly about this personal subject, or was trying to capitalize on her fame from being in "Airport '79" - either way, it's sad.

Also starring (if that word can be used in this context) Eddie Albert, Cicely Tyson, Charo, John Davidson, David Warner, Avery Schreiber, Sylvia Kristel (who was apparently forced into making nudie films like "Private Lessons" after this...) and Sybil Danning (ditto for the nudie flicks, so that's one positive thing) Oh, and Harry Shearer as the (uncredited) voice of the nightly news - I bet this film isn't on anyone's resume...

This is a definite contender for the worst FILM ever made. It's one of those films that makes you wonder if the director (plus writer, plus editor) had ever even SEEN a real film before.

RATING: 1 out of 10 barf bags

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