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A Serviceable No-Frills Action Movie That Gets The Audience To Their Destination

Jan 25, 2023

“Plane,” landing in theaters this January, creates the safest theatrical runway to touch down on. What the audience gets here is a no-frills action-thriller: a simple story with appealing leading men who accomplish the task at hand. For moviegoers that want over and above that margin, look elsewhere. But for those that think “Plane” already looks worth the time and money, this is probably the movie one expects: the cinematic equivalent of meat and potatoes.
READ MORE: ‘Plane’ Trailer: Gerard Butler & Mike Colter Fight A Rebel Army After A Plane Crash In The Ridiculous New Action Flick
Gerard Butler plays Brodie Torrance, a widowed commercial airline pilot with a haunted past. He’s heading to meet his daughter for New Year’s but has one more job between them enjoying quality family time together. A quiet flight with a handful of passengers and bad weather being their most significant obstacle soon pivots into something else entirely. In addition to the token cast of characters one may expect onboard, the FBI arrives with Mike Colter‘s Louis Gaspare, a handcuffed fugitive accused of murder that agents are transferring from A to B.
At once, the FBI orders Torrance to take a specific route, something he pushes back on but reluctantly does. But then the plane loses all power and has to make an emergency landing on a lawless island run by rebels. With no way of letting anyone know where they are and stuck in a risky place no one wants to go, it’s up to Butler’s hero to ensure the safety of the passengers, including the expected federal package, and attempt to get help.
Torrance and Gaspare head off into the island’s jungles to try and find a way to call for help. The odd-couple bonds as they make contact, and a rescue mission soon kicks into action. But the plan involves the airline bringing in Tony Goldwyn’s Scarsdale, a no-nonsense ball-breaker who’s ex-Special Forces. What’s more: Scarsdale enlists a band of mercenaries to do the job that others can’t do (or, rather, can’t be seen doing). Soon enough, the rebels discover the plane, and as the stakes grow ever higher, Torrance and Gaspare must execute a plan to save the day while the extraction team rushes to their aid.
As action movies go, “Plane” doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and it doesn’t need to, because this wheel works perfectly well. Butler and Colter are a solid leading-man pairing with a chemistry that feels natural and very easy to watch. But would an extra layer of depth hurt? Absolutely not, but “Plane” does the trick just fine. This rendition of the film is much more preferable to one that forces edginess for the sake of less authenticity.
“Plane” has the distilled essence of action movies from the ’80s and ’90s pumping in its DNA, but it never feels too derivative. There’s impressive action but very little overblown spectacle. French director Jean-François Richet does an excellent job refusing to dress up his movie up with massive action set-pieces for the sake of atmosphere. “Plane” unashamedly knows exactly what it is and owns it. The same goes for the script by Charles Cummings & J.D. Davis. Both writers avoid lazy tropes and box-ticking and instead lean on traditional genre elements only when necessary. In another film, Torrance’s discussion with his copilot Dele (Yoson An) about their families would be a hackneyed mess. The same goes for the boardroom confrontation between Paul Ben-Victor‘s airline boss and the mercenary Scarsdale. The scene surges with the testosterone-fueled attitude action junkies expect, but the interchange never comes off as twee or hammy.
Some action fans may find “Plane” a little wanting, but it’s a fun romp that remains engaging throughout its runtime. There’s very little fat to this movie, but, like Butler, it has plenty of heart and muscle. So, for viewers okay with the softer end of an R-rating and action that stops short of edge-of-your-seat thrills, “Plane” delivers on all the elements it promises, cruising comfortably in its airspace. Consider this an entertaining popcorn movie to start the year off right, and as Gerard Butler actioners go, a solid mid-tier production. [B-]

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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