The villains of the 2022 holiday season were the airlines, so it’s a fitting moment for Gerard Butler’s Plane action vehicle to take off. The film’s inflammatory incident involves a cost-cutting safety auditor at Trailblazer Airlines who insists that Captain Brodie Torrance (Butler) fly through a storm rather than avoid it to save fuel during a New Year’s flight from Singapore to Tokyo. Of course, since this is an action film directed by Gerard Butler, the passengers of Trailblazer Flight 119 don’t end up in an airport for days, but fight for their lives on a remote island in the Philippines ruled by a Separatist militia whose main source of income is hostages .
But don’t worry because Butler’s Brodie isn’t your average airline pilot – he’s an airline pilot who can kill bad guys with his bare hands. He also has support in the form of Mike Colter, and the two actors make a good, fun, and appealingly male couple in Plane.
Consider this cute encounter: Brodie Torrance is a widowed former Royal Air Force pilot who is stranded on long-haul flights thanks to a viral video of him choking an unruly passenger down (his signature move, as we’ll see). ). Louis Gaspare (Colter) is a convicted murderer who has been on the run for 15 years and is now being extradited from Bali to the United States. When Louis lands on Brodie’s flight, sparks fly (from machine gun fire) as they fight the aforementioned Separatist militia to rescue the passengers and return Brodie to his daughter (Haleigh Hekking) in Hawaii.
Jean-François Richet’s “Plane” is as efficient, economical and effective as its actually good title – clear, vivid, conveys what the film is about. The characterization in the script by Charles Cumming and JP Davis is meager to meager, but we’re given just enough and more would be overkill.
Much like the plane itself for most of Plane, this tight thriller remains grounded and somber, and once we’re on land, Puerto Rico – surrogate the Philippines – brings a sense of texture and realism to the humid environment. Richet methodically builds tension, alternating with bursts of chaotic violence, showing us that Brodie is capable of both method and madness. Sometimes it’s a carefully orchestrated and silent taking of hostages; at times it’s a brutal brawl as Brodie forces an attacker into submission, captured in a single handheld shot. Butler’s fighting style is similar to that of the film: muscular, unspectacular, effective and explosive only when necessary.
Far from the steamy Philippine jungle, we see the inner workings of the Trailblazer warroom, helmed by Tony Goldwyn in full Hambone mode as Crisis Manager David Scarsdale bossing the top manager (Paul Ben-Victor) around and summoning the mercenaries. With Butler’s stoic heroism and behind-the-scenes corporate infighting, Plane feels like the action-thriller version of Sully, with a nod to Tobias Lindholm’s A Hijacking, but without the grim condemnation of such corporate culture as it negotiates price of human lives.
The villains on the ground are a bunch of bloodthirsty rebels with great haircuts, and the leader, Junmar (Evan Dane Taylor), is so cool you almost want to root for him (considering they crashed onto his island), but there is, of course, the murder of innocent hostages. However, don’t expect any political nuances or social commentary from “Plane.” If you expect nothing more than to enjoy watching a sweaty butler handle some baddies while Colter manhandles him, you’ll be more than satisfied with the ride that “Plane” offers – a well-executed hunk pulpy entertainment.
Katie Walsh is a film critic for the Tribune News Service.
Rated: R, for violence and language
Duration: 1 hour, 47 minutes
To play: Launches January 13th in general release
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2023-01-11/review-in-plane-action-star-gerard-butler-once-again-sticks-the-landing Plane Review: A sweaty Gerard Butler doesn’t disappoint