It’s said one of the safest forms of travel is flying. It doesn’t help however, when Hollywood insists, on a regular basis, of having all manner of things happen on aeroplanes to put us off using them; you can find yourself sitting next to murderers, psychopaths, or even worse, bridesmaids.
And then there are those flights where, regardless of the relentless safety checks they go through, something goes wrong, that can make for a very uncomfortable journey.
And of course, you also have to be careful of snakes, because as everyone knows, flying is their preferred mode of travel.
For Gerard Butler’s latest, which sees him captain of a long haul flight, it’s yet another film that won’t do anything to help the nervous flyer.
Preparing for his flight leaving Singapore for Hawaii is Captain Brodie Torrence (Butler). He’s flying back to see his daughter, on New year’s Eve no less, which probably accounts for the small number he’s taking with him, 14 passengers and four other crew members, all aboard Flight 119.
Just as he’s about to shut the door and prepare for take-off, a group of men approach, with one of them saying that he has two extra passengers to add to his list; an officer of the law and a man in handcuffs (Mike Colter), who shouldn’t be a problem and yet should still be considered dangerous. Nice.
So Brodie and his co-pilot Dele (Yoson An) finally get the OK to get their bird off the ground, and start their long journey. It just so happens though, that there are some serious storms on the horizon, which could prove to be a problem. But as they all soon discover, that’s not the only thing lurking on the horizon for them.
Looking back at Gerard Butler’s career, it’s funny to see that he made his big screen debut in 1997’s Mrs Brown, which was about as far removed from the action genre as you can possibly get.
Since then, Butler has secured himself as one of the most popular action heroes of his time, with his career taking off with the success of 2007’s 300, and going on a nice little trajectory ever since.
Some may think of him as the Scottish Jason Statham, which isn’t as scathing as it initially sounds, considering how entertaining Statham’s work often is. And besides, you’re allowed more than just one guilty pleasure.
The film’s title is a little misleading, even in its brevity, as you would be forgiven for thinking it’s a disaster film, it isn’t. But sort of is too.
French director Jean-François Richet presents a curious hybrid, that is part disaster film and part re-imagining of an eighties action flick. And yes, it is as preposterous as it sounds. And just like the coming together of two different elements like peanut butter and jam, it shouldn’t really work, but does.
Much of this is down to Richet’s impressive work behind the camera; he’s responsible for the excellent 2008 Mesrine (both parts), which isn’t a bad film to have on your CV. And although the premise is truly ridiculous, Richet shoots it in such a way to give it optimum impact, with a number of stylish shots that are likely to make grip tight and hold your breath throughout.
He delivers it with such flair, that you just submit to the fact that it’s a fun ride early on, and just lower your expectations accordingly. In doing so, it makes the perfect Saturday night flick that will undeniably entertain.
As far as the 53 year old Scot is concerned, he gives just what you expect from a Gerard Butler action film, and you can’t ask for more than that.
He is supported by a great turn by Luke Cage himself Colter, whose character deserves more screen time on his own, and with the way the story leaves it, there’s the possibility of just that, which would make for an interesting sequel/spin-off.
If you’re looking for some mindless fun where you can just turn off your brain – which you must if you’re going to make it through to the end – buckle up and enjoy the outrageously fun in-flight entertainment.