Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Passenger 57

Year 2, Day 97 - 4/7/10 - Movie #462

BEFORE: On the day of my 40th birthday party in 2008, I managed to put my head right through a lightbulb in my basement (or a lightbulb into my head, depending on how you look at it), and I ended up spending the first few hours of my party getting stitched up in the emergency room. This is the movie that was airing on the TV in the hospital's waiting room - so, I've seen bits of this, but it was on a Spanish-language station, and while I was bleeding from a head wound. I swear, you can't make this stuff up.

THE PLOT: An airline security expert must take action when he finds himself trapped on a passenger jet when terrorists seize control of it.

AFTER: This is a movie that doesn't mess around - airline security expert John Cutter (Wesley Snipes) deals with a terrorist hijacking, forces the plane to land and pursues the main terrorist on foot - and brings the movie back to the gate with a total flight time of under 90 minutes. So it's a tight little thriller without a lot of complicated ethics - in fact its 1992 pre-9/11 take on hijacking is almost quaint. Cutter advises flight attendants to "do whatever the terrorist says" - if the people on United 93 had taken that advice, things could have ended up much worse...

So the film doesn't really challenge the mind, or break much new ground - but it didn't waste a lot of my time, either, it just delivered the action. Hey, I'm sure it's better than "Snakes on a Plane" (Note: I will not be watching "Snakes on a Plane".)

Snipes' big memorable taunt to the terrorists is "Always bet on black!" - wouldn't it have been a good idea to save that for a movie when he's fighting criminals in a casino? I mean, there's no roulette tables on the plane, no one is seen gambling in the film, so there's no connection to betting... Couldn't the writers have come up with something plane-related, like "Your condition is terminal!" or "Time for you to make an emergency landing!" Even Harrison Ford's "!" from "Air Force One" carried more impact.

Also starring Elizabeth Hurley, Tom Sizemore (recently seen de-toxing on "Celebrity Rehab" and "Sober House"), Bruce Greenwood, and Michael Horse (Deputy Hawk from "Twin Peaks"!)

RATING: 7 out of 10 beverage carts

NOTE: I caught a bit of the news after watching this film - and once again my film choice seemed to coincide with the night's events - but I guess the terrorism aboard a flight to Denver tonight turned out to just be a diplomat making a bad joke about lighting his shoes on fire, after trying to smoke in the airplane's restroom...

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