Though cliche in the grand scheme of action movies, it is refreshing in contrast to today’s usual films to see such a simple concept executed cleanly.
Airline pilot Brodie Torrance, played by Gerard Butler, has one last flight before he can meet up with his daughter in time for New Year’s Day. His night seems easy enough until he is informed that he is transporting a man indicted for homicide–played by Mike Colter– who has a mysterious and intimidating aura. Despite some tension, it’s a quiet flight. It isn’t until the plane runs into inclement weather–an intense lightning storm–do things take a turn for the worst. This forces them to land on a dangerous separatist-run island in the Philippines. Torrance, his crew, and his passengers must soon fight for their lives.
The film is a bare-bones simple action-drama and does not waste any time. The plot is effective and simple: a plane crash followed by a hostage situation. It does not bother itself with complex character work or development and has a one-dimensional villain, but this does not negatively impact the viewing experience. The characters are sympathetic enough and the villain is appropriately intimidating. Gerard Butler is a good everyman– not too tough and not too soft, and his performance is believable and accessible. A film like this has little to offer in terms of depth, dialogue, or complexity, but it doesn’t need to.
The action which is the driving force of the film was gritty and messy in a grounded way. Each sequence was appropriately rugged and violent with gunshots and blood spurts which kept the audience’s attention. The plane crash scene was exciting, scary, and convincing. While thrilling, the movie never veered into too upsetting or brutal territory, but overall brought tension from the get-go.
With most recent action films, it seems the filmmakers are set on including ample humor and poking fun at the genre. Marvel’s usual turnout or anything made with Ryan Reynolds (primarily “Deadpool”) come to mind. While this is fine and can be enjoyable, it has gotten rather tiring and overdone as of late.
“Plane” is a clean-cut action flick, and is not quippy or unserious–this works in its favor. A movie this straightforward is not something we often see currently, which brings a feeling of unconventionality and maturity to the screen.
Altogether, “Plane” delivered on its action set pieces and was a breezy watch. It is an unembellished and competent film that is sure to satisfy across the board, but will likely be most popular amongst dads–it’s the type of film you can appreciate in the theater or pay half attention to on your couch. In an industry that has been oversaturated with huge budget films and try-hard cleverness, “Plane” is a breath of fresh air.
“Plane” is currently playing in theaters.