Review

‘Plane’ Review: Like a Serviceable Budget Airline; You Get What You Expect

Look, if you walk into a movie about a plane titled “Plane” starring Gerard Butler and expected art, that sounds like a you problem!

“Plane” stars Gerard Butler as a commercial airline pilot who must find a way off a remote island after his plane crash lands while transporting a prisoner (Mike Colter); Yoson An and Tony Goldwyn also star, as Jean-François Richet directs.

I’m a man of simple tastes: if you promise me plane crashes and gun fights, and your film gives me crashing planes and fights with guns, I’ll go home happy. And “Plane,” radiating “watch this on FX at 2pm on a rainy Saturday” energy, delivers on what it sets out to do, even if it barely flies above “straight to streaming” quality.

Gerard Butler is a fine-enough actor, I think at this point in his career he knows his strengths and his place in Hollywood. He’s given us fun “Die Hard” ripoffs like “Olympus Has Fallen” and the shockingly effective disaster film “Greenland,” but like Liam Neeson has his share of generic action-thrillers to pay the bills, like “Den of Thieves,” “Copshop,” and “Last Seen Alive.” Here as Captain Brodie Torrance, Butler isn’t forced to flex his acting chops too much, but he carries his action scenes well and you buy him as a seasoned airplane pilot.

The first half of the film plays like “Castaway” while the second becomes your typical hostage rescue flick. The crash sequence is tense and well-staged, and the action we get later has some fun kills that made me snicker (a Barrett .50 cal sniper blows away some bad guys and my lizard brain was very satisfied). A lot of the blood is done in post-production so it looks cheap, but that’s part of the film’s charm.

At 107 minutes the film is never boring, though I’m sure it could have stood to be a little tighter and leaned into the human drama aspect a bit more. Not that a film like this needs layers like that, but it never hurts to make characters have more than a single character trait.

“Plane” will give you exactly what you want, assuming what you want it an undemanding action-thriller with Gerard Butler. My audience seemed to enjoy itself (a few chuckles, a couple gasps) and while this is the sort of film destined to culturally peak when it debuts at #4 on Netflix’s top-trending in a few months, it benefits from the theater experience. Maybe not a trip worth clapping at the end, but it justifies thanking the pilot on the way out the door.

Critics Rating: 6/10

Lionsgate

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