Film Review: Plane

Mild spoilers ahead.

Last night I got to see an early screening of the action-thriller Plane, starring Gerard Butler and Mike Colter. I had seen the trailer not long before I saw it and it immediately made me think of your standard B-movie that usually comes out in January, but I’m always willing to give any film a chance, perhaps I might be pleasantly surprised by what I was about to see? Perhaps I was about to witness a hidden gem?

I was not pleasantly surprised by what I saw and I did not witness a hidden gem.

When Captain Brodie Torrance’s (Butler) plane is caught up in some adverse weather, he is forced to make an emergency landing on a nearby island. Unfortunately for him and his passengers, the island they have crashed on is controlled by a rogue milita group. His passengers are taken hostage and it’s up to him and convicted murderer Louis Gaspare (Colter) to save them.

That’s all there is to it, to be honest, Plane lacks any real substance whatsoever. Aside from Butler and Colter, every other character is one-dimensional and completely forgettable, they are more or less props for the hostage storyline and offer nothing else of value for this film. This means that Gerard Butler is left to more or less carry this film, and to his credit, he is doing the absolute best he can with what he’s working with, which isn’t a great deal. The screenplay does include some wafer-thin attempts at exposition and character background for Torrance and Gaspare, however, I got the impression that this information was supposed to lead up to a revelation or some kind of a pay-off, but that never came at all. It’s either very clumsy or very lazy writing, whatever it is, it wasn’t good, and you’ve got to wonder whether or not this script went through any proof-reading.

When I left the cinema I was often saying to myself “Well what about that?” and “I guess we were supposed to forget about that part.” I get it, a film like this was never going to be Citizen Kane, but if you’re going to include sub-plots and get the audience asking questions, then you have to provide some answers. It truly did feel like the filmmakers were at odds as to what they were trying to achieve here, which is a shame.

The action set-pieces are… fine? But there are so many films that have done a lot more and a lot better. It may give you a few minutes of satisfaction but nothing here is going to stick in your memory. For a film that has a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes, I really did expect a lot more than was given. There is one decent hand-to-hand combat scene, but the rest is just mindless shootouts that weren’t really that interesting to watch.

I’m struggling to write much else about this film, simply due to the fact that there really isn’t much to digest. It really is the definition of “bang-average”, it’s the kind of film you might stick on if it was on TV, but you’re not really paying much attention to it. I wouldn’t recommend you pay for this film, I would struggle to even suggest someone watches it if it pops up on a streaming service, because there are better ways to spend your time.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a complete plane-crash (pun intended) of a film, and if you do watch it then you’ll get some entertainment value out of it. But there are plenty of other B-Action movies that offer a lot more, are far more entertaining, and have more meat on the bone. I had to get this review out sharpish because I’m already starting to forget Plane, and I doubt I’ll ever think about it again after this review.

I didn’t expect much, I didn’t get much. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t particularly like it either.

One can’t help but feel this was a bit of a missed opportunity…

I give Plane a 5/10.

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