Year 2, Day 98 - 4/8/10 - Movie #463
BEFORE: Ray Liotta as a villain? How unlikely - just kidding! Once again, the feds are transporting criminals to L.A. (what is it about L.A.?) on a commercial flight, and I'm guessing chaos will ensue.
THE PLOT: After a shootout on a flight transporting prisoners, a stewardess must outwit a smooth-talking serial killer and land the plane herself.
AFTER: Hmm...we've got a couple of dangerous criminals being transported on a nearly-empty jumbo jet on Christmas Eve - but don't a lot of people travel home for Christmas? And if the flight was almost empty, wouldn't the airline probably cancel it?
And didn't we learn from watching "Con Air" that the federal prison system has its own airline for transporting prisoners? What gives?
I also noticed a lot of inconsistencies when Lauren Holly's flight attendant was trying to land the plane. At one point she's asked to turn the auto-pilot off, and then later told to turn it on again, since the plane can pretty much land itself. Well, which is it? Is the auto-pilot good, or bad? I do remember seeing an episode of "Mythbusters" where they investigated the movie myth about someone not trained as a pilot taking instructions over the radio and landing a jet - both Adam and Jamie were able to land airliners (in simulation, of course) with the proper radio instructions from an expert pilot. So it's definitely plausible, but I also want it to be portrayed consistently.
Isn't this all just an excuse to get Ray Liotta up into the friendly skies, so we can watch him go berzerko taking over the plane? At first, the movie does a good job of implying that he might not be a serial killer - he is charming, and maybe that cop did plant phony evidence... But admit it, you want to see him go nuts and start killing people. You should be ashamed of yourselves...
And thus I've stumbled on the real reason we watch disaster movies - we want the thrill of seeing a hijacking, or an earthquake, or a shark attack, without any of the actual danger. So the films fulfill a need for excitement for those of us who aren't daredevils or extreme sports stars - it's tough to fall asleep during a film that's providing an adrenaline rush (but sometimes, I still manage to...)
My life is stressful enough, without taking a large number of plane rides. I prefer to take the Amtrak when I can, like up to Boston to see the folks. Of course, the train isn't disaster proof either - for example, a plane could crash on top of it! Once when we were coming back from Mass. on the train, someone in Rhode Island decided to end it all by stepping in front of the train, and we were stopped for hours while they scraped this guy off the tracks. I don't condone suicide, but if you're dead-set on it, please find a way to do it without inconveniencing a train-load of passengers who just want to get home!
Also starring Catherine Hicks, Hector Elizondo, Brendan Gleeson
RATING: 5 out of 10 oxygen masks