‘Plane’: A Soft Landing

%28Courtesy+of+Lionsgate+and+G-BASE+Entertainment%29

(Courtesy of Lionsgate and G-BASE Entertainment)

By Zach Anderson

 

“Plane,” the latest action-thriller from producer/actor Gerard Butler, follows the star Brodie Torrence, a pilot forced to make an emergency landing on a hostile militarized island. Concerned about the survival of his crew and passengers, Brodie finds himself relying on Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), a homicidal convict being transported by the FBI. Gerard Butler’s face plastered on every advertisement of this movie may have caught your attention, but you’ll soon realize this January release doesn’t have much else to offer.

With made-for-TV action, visual noise disguised as characters and lazy cinematography, a better name for “Plane” would be “Plain.”

The Saving Graces

Admittedly, Gerard Butler and Mike Colter are giving their all in what could have been an easy paycheck movie. This effort pays off in a dynamic that best resembles a buddy cop duo, Butler as a leader with a big heart and Colter as a soldier hardened by harsh reality. You can really tell that they’re working with everything they were given.

Unfortunately for them, no one else seemed to care. It feels like this movie was AI-generated to maximize profit. People like disaster movies, people like action movies; put the two together to make an instant hit. It’s an idea that works on paper, but “Plane” feels just as lazily churned out by the Hollywood machine as you’d expect it to.

Everything Else

The most egregious and striking offender of laziness is the film’s cinematography. In a fight scene around the halfway point, Brodie gets into a hand-to-hand fight with a terrorist, so the cinematographer chose to shoot with a handheld camera. There is a time and place for handheld shots, but when the camera shakes so hard I can barely understand who’s fighting who or who’s winning, it becomes a problem. Not only that, but the abundance of extreme close-ups of Gerard Butler’s face made me wonder how much one man’s neck could sweat.

Next was the casting. After the credits rolled, I could name maybe three characters, yet there were always actors filling the space on screen. This is best demonstrated in the search-and-rescue section of the movie. In this section, Brodie and Louis attempt to save the crew and passengers from the terrorist’s capture. Usually, among a group of 20 to 30 people, at least one person stands up and attempts an escape with the others, but not in “Plane.” Background characters aren’t supposed to emulate people, they’re only supposed to be damsels in distress for the protagonist to save.

Lastly, and most importantly, was the action. The thing I look forward to most in B movies like this one is the promise of half-decent action sequences, but even that was flubbed. The action consists of men shooting behind cover, reloading behind cover and occasionally getting “shot.” This was especially prevalent in the climactic ending shootout. Every gun seemed to have a poorly cropped JPEG image of a muzzle flash strapped to the end of it.

Doesn’t Sound That Bad

Sure, maybe I’m being a little harsh. “Plane” is a B movie that takes itself too seriously and just wants a paycheck. A paycheck, which admittedly, I contributed to. “Plane” is mediocre, but in my opinion, that’s far worse than being bad. If a movie, something that’s meant to evoke an emotional response, can’t even be bad right, something is seriously wrong and it deserves proper scrutiny.

Unless you have a thing for planes crashing or Gerard Butler’s neck sweat, “Plane” is not worth your time.

 

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@thezachus